Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority has launched a consultation on its amendments to the 2016 Spam Regulation following its regulatory review. The consultation ends on 1 October 2017. The amended regulation sets out the particular obligations on service providers, and both senders and users of electronic communications for direct marketing in line with Qatar’s regulatory framework. The aim is to align the regulation more closely with the Data Privacy Law published last year and reduce the number of spam complaints, direct marketing and cyber-crime.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law allowing some expatriates to obtain permanent residency. It is the first move of its kind in the GCC. Children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris, as well as expatriates who provide outstanding services to the country will be allowed to obtain permanent residency. If approved, the Interior Minister will be able to grant a permanent residency ID to a non-Qatari if they meet the conditions in the law.
Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has issued a Decree-Law amending the 2004 Law on combating terrorism. It includes definitions of terrorists, crimes and terrorist acts and entities. It also contains provisions on the freezing of funds and terrorist financing. Two national lists of individuals and terrorist entities will be created. The procedures for who gets listed have also been laid out. In addition, relevant parties will be able to challenge a decision to list at the Court of Cassation.
The UAE civil aviation authority has confirmed that the Qatar air embargo issued by the UAE only applies to airlines which are from Qatar or registered there
The UAE civil aviation authority has confirmed that the Qatar air embargo issued by the UAE only applies to airlines which are from Qatar or registered there. Identical statements have been issued by the authorities in Saudi and Bahrain. All Qatari or Qatari registered airlines are banned from landing or transiting airspace in these countries. However, the ban does not cover airlines from other countries who have crossed Qatar airspace. Private planes and charters from Qatar will need permission to transit the airspace of these three countries. Permission will need to be requested from the authorities 24 hours in advance and would need the names and nationalities of crew and passengers and details of cargo.
If your company has documentation that needs to be legalised by Qatari embassies in the KSA, UAE, or Bahrain for use in Qatar, or vice versa, it is advisable these documents are drafted and legalised as soon as possible.
Is your business dependent on imported goods? It could be the case that those goods are stuck at the Saudi border. This would be a suitable time to review your contractual and commercial arrangements to assess risks and consider alternatives.
Are you a Qatari company with Saudi, Emirati, or Bahrain authorised signatories? A prudent measure would be to add another authorised signatory from another nationality to ensure business continuity amidst the row.
Are you travelling to/from Qatar? There are reports of border closures affecting land, air and sea routes between the KSA, UAE, or Bahrain and Qatar, and airline bans have resulted in a level of interruption for travellers to and from Qatar. You may consider flying via a different country/airlines.
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Qatar’s Shoura Council has approved a draft law determining the qualifications and role of experts, who are often used by the courts, Ministries and Government institutions for their opinion on litigation and disputes. A new Experts Department will be established at the Justice Ministry to regulate their work in courts and different Government departments. Experts will have to register with the Ministry to get accredited and licensed before they can practice. A special committee which will supervise and organise their work will be able to suspend or disqualify them if they are investigating complaints against them. Experts will have to keep all the information they obtain during their work confidential and should not have relationships with any of the disputed parties in the cases they are handling. In addition they cannot be involved in a case if the company they work for is part of the dispute and must always improve their skills in their field of expertise and be up to date with professional developments. Experts in medical science, engineering, finance, banking and real estate, amongst others will be covered by the law.
Qatar’s Cabinet has called for a draft law specifying regulations for economic zones in the country to be issued. The call follows a review by the Council of Ministers of the Advisory Council’s recommendations regarding the law. If approved, the Council of Ministers, following a proposal from the board of directors of the Economic Zones Company (Manateq) will be able to establish one or more economic zones. All types of companies, partnership contracts or other legal entities, owned by one or more natural or legal persons will be able to be established in the zone. It will not matter if they are foreigners or nationals. They will be exempt from having to obtain any other licence, approval, permission or registration in the country. They will also be free to transfer any of their capital, income, profits or investments outside the State without restrictions. The Cabinet has also approved the application of Qatar Decree-Law No 16/2010 on electronic transactions and commerce to real estate transactions and documentation.
Qatar’s Financial Centre has announced it has introduced legislation to allow Investment Clubs and Foundations to be set-up. Foundations will be established under the QFC Foundation Regulations and Rules and will have their own legal personality. Their structure will be flexible and will be able to be used for succession planning, asset protection and employee share plans. Their constitution needs to be provided to the Financial Centre’s Authority but will remain a confidential document. Investment Clubs will be companies limited by shares and will be incorporated under the QFC Investment Clubs Regulations and Rules. To ensure they do not have to be authorised, Investment Clubs should not be carried on ‘by way of business’. They will be able to pool funds by up to 15 members and investing in a portfolio of assets and securities. In certain circumstances, a member will be able to exit by selling their shares back to the Investment Club. The Regulations also provide for the Investment Club’s assets to be valued and for disputes over valuations to be resolved. Both entities will be able to be 100% foreign owned and will be able to trade in the currency of their choice. They may also benefit from unlimited repatriation of profits.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft VAT Law and its Executive Regulations. The Cabinet also approved a draft income tax law and its draft executive regulation. If approved further, the amendments will replace Qatar Law No. 21/2009 and Qatar Law No. 17/2014. In addition, a draft Ministerial Decision issuing the Executive Regulations to the selective tax law were approved. It include provisions on tax entitlement, declarations of loss or damage of selective goods, inspection of damaged goods, registration, tax declaration, rules of payment of tax for locally produced goods, maintenance of accounting systems, accounting records and control and inspection rules.
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The 2017 Qatar Business Law Forum & Awards Ceremony is back in Doha! Register Here After the huge success of last year’s event, LexisNexis® is pleased to host the 2nd Qatar Business Law Forum & Awards, in partnership with Qatar University College of Law, the Qatar Foundation and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Middle (more…)