Bahrain’s Trade Policy Review

Since 2001, the national currency, the Bahraini dinar (BHD), has been pegged to the USD$ (USD 2.659 per BHD 1). The fixing of the BHD to the USD was made as a first step to comply with the decision by the GCC to establish a monetary union by 2010.

In addition, Bahrain has been applying the GCC common external tariff since 1 January 2003 where no exchange control requirements are imposed on capital receipts or payments by residents or non-residents. Transactions in money market instruments are controlled under the Amiri Decree No. 4/2000 on the prevention of money laundering. Bahrain has also adopted the requirements of Article VIII of the International Monetary Fund Agreement.

According to the latest trade policy review (carried out in 2007) Bahrain has been implementing a development strategy aimed at reducing its high dependence on oil and gas. This is being achieved by:

  • Promoting downstream industries, financial services, and tourism and thereby creating more job opportunities for Bahraini nationals;
  • Improving education and health services, and modernising the infrastructure; and
  • Addressing some structural problems, including the leading positions of state-owned companies in key activities.

The development strategy has been accompanied by structural reforms to create a more business-friendly environment, and increase the role of the private sector in the economy.

Bahrain has also been implementing measures to improve the investment

climate. In particular, a revised Commercial Companies Law was enacted in 2001 with a number of later amendments being added in the last few years, to pave the way for a surge in foreign investment inflows.

The Bahrain Investors’ Centre (BIC), was established in 2004 to facilitate the setting up of a business within 24 hours and, in January 2006, new regulations were introduced to further reduce red tape and increase transparency when setting up a business.