Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft Consumer Protection Law as well as a draft Decision issuing the Implementing Regulations to the Law. If approved, it will replace Qatar Law No. 8/2008. The aim is to update the legislation to ensure it takes account of developments and international best practices. The Cabinet also approved a draft Ministerial Decision issuing the Implementing Regulations to Qatar Law No. 2/2019 on supporting the competitiveness of national products and combating harmful international trade practices. It includes provisions on the organisation of the work of the committee to support competitiveness of national products provided for by law and the organisation of the procedures for filing and deciding on complaints. It also includes provisions on the conditions, controls and procedures for the investigation of harmful practices in international trade and interim and final measures and price undertakings on these practices.
Bahrain’s Parliamentary Public Utilities and Environment Committee has discussed a draft maritime law accompanying Bahrain Decree No. 29/2018. The Committee also discussed its recommendations regarding the articles of a draft law amending Bahrain Decree Law No. 20/2002 on the regulation of fishing, exploitation and protection of marine wealth. The Chairman of the Committee pointed out the fishing and marine wealth law will also be amended in order to protect marine wealth and workers in the fishing sector.
The Qatar Financial Centre has announced it has issued new rules and guidance to regulate FinTech service providers in the country. Under the new rules and guidance, non-regulated professional service firm activities have been expanded to cover FinTech Services Provider activities. This will include activities like providing cybersecurity solutions, application programming interfaces cloud computing, developing blockchain-based technologies, Artificial Intelligence and companies who provide a platform for facilitating real-time transaction capability of internet connected devices. It comes as Qatar looks to develop its FinTech environment and is part of the Centre’s FinTech strategy.
In common with other GCC states, Bahrainisation efforts have been under scrutiny as a parliamentary committee which has been put in charge of investigating non-Bahrainisation of jobs in the public and private sector held a meeting. The issue was raised after it was found the Ministry of Information had 70% of Bahraini staff with temporary contracts. There was a pledge to take action after there had been issues as a result of a number of national employees opting for the Voluntary Retirement Programme. The committee asked that the Ministry include Bahrainisation rates as a contract term when signing agreements with private companies and take this matter into consideration when awarding tenders.
The Emir of Qatar has issued Qatar Law No. 20/2019 on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, replacing Qatar Law No. 4/2010. The law is to be implemented from the day following its publication in the Official Gazette. The Qatari Central Bank has said the new law complies with recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by setting binding legal requirements for businesses and the financial sector on combatting money laundering and terrorist financing, including non-profit organisations and money transfer services. Those who violate the law will face fines and imprisonment. The law requires the “widest possible cooperation and exchange of financial information” with foreign counterparts. Qatar has already signed a relevant memorandum of understanding with the United States.
In Qatar, sick leave certificates issued by Hamad Medical Corp (HMC) and the Primary Health Care Corp (PHCC) have been changed and will no longer require the signature of the physician or e stamp of the health facility which issued them. Instead the certificates will be issued electronically with an e-signature and barcode. The system will be implemented initially at government health facilities only. Private health facilities, will continue to issue sick leave certificates which are signed and stamped in the usual way. These certificates could be issued to HMC and PHCC employees, students and employees of all organisations and entities.
Qatar’s Free Zones Authority has announced it is planning to establish a new free zone in Msheireb district in downtown Doha. It will house the new Media City and IT companies. The Media City was established under Qatar Law No. 13/2019. It will be responsible for managing and developing media activities in the country. Microsoft has already got Cabinet approval to establish a global Azure Cloud Computing data centre in the country.
The Qatari Cabinet has approved a draft law which would see the establishment of a new court for investment and trade. A report by the President of the Court of Cassation on the results of the work of the task team mandated to study the mechanisms and requirements for the establishment of the specialised court for investment and trade within the framework of the initiative to develop justice systems and create an attractive environment for investment was reviewed by the Cabinet.
Qatar: The QICDRC Signs a Cooperation Agreement with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
Qatar’s International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. It was signed for the QICRDC by its CEO, Faisal Rashid Al-Sahouti and for ICSID by its Secretary-General, Meg Kinnear. Under the agreement the two organisations will share arbitration and alternative dispute resolution insights. Each organisation will also be able to conduct all or any part of arbitration proceedings at the other Centre. The other organisation will also have priority access to the facilities and services at their counterpart’s organisation including using meeting rooms and office space as well as interpretation and translation services.
The Head of the Conservation and Energy Efficiency Department at Qatar’s General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has announced new regulations to the Tarsheed law are expected to be issued by the end of this year. The aim is to make air conditioners and other electric home appliances more energy efficient. If approved, the energy efficiency ratio of split unit air-conditioners will be increased from the existing 9.5 to 10.5. The move is part of the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency which is aiming to reduce electricity consumption by 6% per capita, water by 10% and carbon footprints by 7% by the end of 2022.