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Business Environment in Qatar
 
 
 

Qatar is one of the wealthiest country in the world in per capita terms with substantial oil and gas reserves, an excellent infrastructure system and free market economic policies. The country benefits from excellent telecommunications. All local landline calls are free; international calls are expensive, and are charged at 15-second intervals. The mobile network is widespread and is considered to be of good quality.

There are 15 banks operating in Qatar, including seven national banks, two of which operate in accordance with Islamic principals. The Qatar Industrial Development Bank specialises in providing finance to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Like most oil producing countries in the Middle East, Qatar is looking to reform and liberalise its economy to avoid an over-reliance on oil and gas, most particularly in light of falling oil prices as a result of the credit crunch. Investment rules for non-Qataris are increasingly becoming more relaxed in order to enhance economic growth. The state initiated a privatisation program in 1998, and trading on the Qatar stock exchange was extended to foreign investors in 2005.

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international financial bodies, Qatar offers investors a mature and sophisticated banking environment. Qatar's economy has been growing by around 10% per year in recent years.

The Foreign Investment Law No.13 of 2000 has also played an important role in stimulating economic growth. The law permitted up to 100% foreign ownership for the first time in the sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, health, education, and tourism. It also offered investors a number of substantial incentives, including the freedom to repatriate all profits to the investor’s country of origin.

On the 1st of Feb 2010, Law Number 1 of 2010 was issued amending some key provisions of Law No 13 of 2000 regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in key economic sectors. Law 1 of 2010 allows foreign investors to have up to 100% ownership in businesses such as consultancy services, information technology (IT), services related to sports, culture and entertainment as well as distribution services. Qatar offers the business sector all the advantages of a highly developed economy, the infrastructure and services match the highest international standards, facilitating efficiency, quality and service.

Qatar government‘s economic development strategy has been very successful and the investment incentives, infrastructure, banking services, insurances and political and social stability are contributing factors in creating an excellent business climate for business start-ups.

Qatari-owned businesses are not subject to tax; part or wholly foreign-owned businesses are liable to tax on income arising from activities in Qatar. There is no personal taxation as such, although foreign individuals carrying on a trade are liable to tax where that income arises from activities carried out in Qatar.

For companies wanting to establish their commercial presence in Qatar there are a few structural options with the most common being the LLC ( Limited Liability Company) in which case the entity must have one or more national partners whose share in the company capital must not be less than 51%. However, it must be noted that the parties' profit share do not necessarily have to reflect their equity stake. Therefore, foreign investors wishing to establish business operations in Qatar engaged in most of the commercial business activities must do so with a partner who is a Qatari national.


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