Reduced restrictions on foreign ownership

Qatar is reforming and liberalising its investment environment in order to encourage economic growth. In particular, Qatar has relaxed its rule that foreign investors can only own up to 49% of the capital in any business ventures. Under Law No. 13 of 2000, foreign investors can now own 100% of an entity’s capital in sectors such as agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism and the exploitation and development of natural resources, subject to approval by the Government of Qatar and the Minister of Finance, Economy and Commerce. Foreign investors can also own up to 25% of Qatari companies listed on the Doha stock exchange. Foreign investors may invest in the banking and insurance sectors with government approval. 

Low business costs

Natural gas and electricity are both subsidised and provided at nominal rates. In addition, low land prices are attractive to investors. According to the Ministry of Business and Trade, land leased for industrial purposes starts at 1 Qatari Riyal ($0.27) per square meter. Customs duties are also highly favourable to foreign investment; there are no duties on imports of machinery, equipment and spare parts for industrial project, and there are no export duties whatsoever. There are also no taxes on corporate profits for pre determined periods.

Personal living benefits

According to the Ministry of Business and Trade there is easy access to residence permits for foreign investors and their family. There is no income tax on the salaries of expatriates, and there are five-year renewable tax holidays, subject to government approval. There are excellent medical and educational facilities. There are also excellent telecommunications; local landline calls are free, and the mobile network is considered to be of good quality.

Increased infrastructure

Qatar has been awarded the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This demonstrates the strength of Qatar’s existing infrastructure, as well as the scope for further development. Government-funded infrastructure projects include road development, Doha seaport and a further international seaport, the 45km Qatar-Bahrain Causeway with railway lines (scheduled to be completed by 2015), new football stadiums and development of railway links between the football stadiums and the airport.