Bahrain’s Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry has signed a cooperation agreement with the US Commerce Department to establish an American trade zone in the Kingdom. The cooperation agreement is aimed at improving economic, commercial and industrial cooperation and increase bilateral trade between the two countries. The American Trade Zone in Bahrain will allow American companies to operate in an area equipped for goods to be exchanged and comprehensive logistical solutions. It will also allow export operations through Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Bahrain International Airport and King Fahd Causeway or through any other ports to be established in the future in Bahrain via tailored customs solutions.
Bahrain’s Parliament has approved a recommendation from the Financial and Economic Committee on amendments to the Commercial Companies Law. The aim is to introduce more investment choices and remove investment obstacles. A Bahraini MP has confirmed the importance of the law but said they hoped it comes in the form of a draft law to make it possible to amend some of its paragraphs which the chamber had some reservations on.
Bahrain: Approves Accession to Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
Bahrain’s Cabinet has approved a memorandum from the Ministerial Committee for Legal and Legislative Affairs on the Kingdom’s accession to the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI).
The Foreign, Defence, and National Security Affairs Committee of Bahrain’s Parliament has proposed tougher penalties for eavesdropping and spying. They have proposed a draft law to this effect. If approved, it will mean those violating the personal or family privacy of others by eavesdropping, spying in any way or form, or taking photos of videos directly of a person in an inappropriate situation or in a private place will be jailed and/or fined up to 1,000 Dinars. They have also proposed amendments to the country’s Penal Code, to increase the penalties for those who incite pedestrians to make immoral gestures, utter immoral words or anything else on public roads or a popular location. If approved, those found guilty would be jailed for between three and six months or be fined between 100 and 500 Dinars.
Bahrain’s Interior Minister has issued a Decision adding an article to the Implementing Regulations for passports. Under the Decision, the Immigration and Passports Department will now require parents to attach a DNA test report for those born outside Bahrain when requesting a new passport or replacement of an existing passport. Applicants may also be required to include an age determination certificate, any laboratory test or any other examinations. Only medical reports issued by the competent and accredited agencies in Bahrain will be accepted.
Bahrain’s Cabinet has approved exemptions to the Kingdom’s Labour Law. Players, coaches and members of technical, administrative, medical and arbitration teams of private bodies working in the youth and sports fields will be exempt from the Private Sector Labour Law. They will also be excluded from the remit of the Social Insurance Law as their clubs pay their insurance contributions. However, they will only be exempt if two draft laws to this effect are approved. The first draft law will replace Article 2(a) of Bahrain Law No. 36/2012 (the Private Sector Labour Law) and the second draft law will add Article 3(12) to Bahrain Decree-Law No. 24/1976 (the Social Insurance Law). The draft laws have been referred to the Legislative Authority to consider. The amendments were proposed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Legal and Legislative Affairs.
Bahrain’s King has issued Bahrain Royal Order No. 42/2020, establishing the Financial Disclosures’ Examination Authority. The Authority will be chaired by the Court of Cassation President and Supreme Judicial Council Deputy President. Its panel will consist of the Prosecutor at the Cassation Court, Judge Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Khalifa, High Civil Court Judge, Dr. Riyadh Mohammed Ibrahim Siyadi and High Civil Court Judge, Isa Mohammed Isa Daraj. They will be members for two years. The Authority will start receiving financial disclosure statements to examine them and verify related complaints, in line with the Law and procedures determined by its Implementing Regulations. It will have the same remit as its predecessor which was established by Bahrain Royal Order No. 26/2014.
Bahrain’s Parliament has approved an increase in the Bahrainisation rate in Government-owned companies in the Kingdom. It means the rate will be able to be increased to 95% within three years. The proposal has been submitted to the Government to consider. They also approved a proposal to ban foreigners from assuming Director of Human Resources positions in Government entities or entities or companies owned by the State where the State contributes more than 50% the capital. They have also referred it to the Government to consider.
Bahrain’s Public Utilities and Environment Committee has approved a draft law to implement the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. It will protect new plant varieties in the Kingdom, regulate the rights and duties of plant breeders and support investment in scientific research and agriculture to develop new plant varieties of high economic and productive value. The explanatory memorandum to the draft law states the justifications for the law is to protect new plant varieties, regulate the conditions for protecting plant varieties, specify the duration of protection and the exceptions. It also states the controls of compulsory licenses, and the precautionary measures to protect Plant breeder rights. In addition, it specifies criminal penalties for violating their rights or violating the law.
Bahrain’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority together with the Information and e-Government Authority has launched a licensing services system. The system includes a number of services which can be used through the national Bahrain.bh portal. It includes a group of important electronic services for real estate professionals, including brokers and sales agents. It also includes facilities to issue licenses and pay fees, enquiring about the status of applications, renewing expired licenses, displaying all licenses approved by the institution and presenting the documents required for issuing or renewal.