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Qatar to allow 100% foreign investment in projects

Qatar's cabinet has approved a draft law that will allow foreign investors to provide up to 100% of the capital for a project in any sector, provided they have a Qatari services agent. 21 Oct 2016

If the investor has a Qatari partner in the investment, that partner will serve as the services agent, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) has reported.

Non-Qatari invested capital means "whatever is invested by a non-Qatari citizen in cash and / or in kind and the rights of monetary value in Qatar", QNA said.

This may include cash transferred to the state through banks and licensed financial companies; assets in kind imported for investment purposes; profits, revenues and reserves accumulated from the investment of non-Qatari capital in any project if added to the capital of that project or if invested in any of the projects permitted under the provisions of the present law; and moral rights such as licences, patents and trademarks registered in the country, QNA said.

The draft law also defines a company as any company that has been founded in accordance with the provisions of Qatar's Commercial Companies Law.

Non-Qatari investors can also own up to 49% of the capital of companies listed on the Qatar Exchange if they gain approval from the government, and potentially a higher percentage with approval from the cabinet, QNA said.

Citizens of other Gulf Cooperation Council member countries are treated as Qatari citizens when it comes to the ownership of companies listed in the Qatari stock market, QNA said.

The new law will not apply to companies or individuals who have been given the right to exploration, use or management of a natural resource based on a special agreement or a franchise with the Qatari state, unless the new provisions do not contradict the special agreement or franchise, QNA said.

A second exception is when the government or a public Qatari institution has established or contributed equity to a business in partnership with non-Qatari investors.

The law does not affect tax breaks or other incentives currently offered to companies, QNA said.