Business Environment in Qatar

Qatar

Qatar is ranked 37 out of 181 economies in the World Bank rankings for Ease of Doing Business. Singapore is the top ranked economy in the Ease of Doing Business.

The market

Qatar is the business hub of the Middle East, one of the fastest growing economies and the richest country in the world. It is no wonder that Qatar is one of the best place to start your business

  • Ease of Doing Business: Qatar has been placed at 37th in the World Banking Rankings for Ease of Doing Business
  • Growing Market: Strong potential and stability of the market
  • Finance: The Qatari Banking Sector and Qatar Exchange together forms the most stable financial backbone in the World
  • Foreign Investment: Investor friendly legal system and trade laws.

Qatar Ecocnomy

Qatar’s economy achieved a major diversification success with the Gas sector overtaking oil as the largest contributor to the economy. The Gas sector accounted for 30.8% of the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a contribution of QR112.6 billion. Qatar’s successful economic diversification program continues to expand further with the development of projects to produce and export of additional natural gas in the form of LN G (Qatargas and RasGas), piped gas (Dolphin), GTL (Oryx and Pearl), and investments in petrochemicals, fertiliser, aluminium and various other industries. The oil and gas sector currently maintains its prominence as the largest contributor to the overall GDP. Qatar’s diversification efforts, coupled along with a buoyant oil-sector have led to rapid economic growth and the emergence of Qatar as one of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. In the year 2008, GDP per capita reached a record $64,661 with QNB forecasts showing it at $73,480 for the year 2010.

Gross Domestic Product(GDP)

Qatar’s nominal GDP growth continues at an astonishing pace, averaging 33.7% over the past five years (2004-2008). The oil and gas sector as mentioned earlier is the principal component of Qatar’s GDP and in 2008 accounted for 60.8% of overall GDP, amounting to QR222,127 million ($61,024 million). The non-oil sector encompasses a broad spectrum of industries ranging from primary industries such as agriculture to finance; insurance and real estate, among others.

According to figures published by the Qatar Statistics Authority, Qatar’s nominal GDP grew by an estimated 40.9% in 2008 to reach QR365,483 million ($100,407 million). The main factors contributing to the GDP growth trend in 2008 were the 36.0% increase in the price of Qatar’s crude oil, from $70.0 p/b in 2007, to $95.2 p/b in 2008, increased oil production at 837,000 bpd and increased LN G exports totalling 30.4 million tons in 2008. For 2009, Qatar estimates the nominal GDP to decline by 5.0%, with oil prices averaging $60.9 p/b up to November 2009, from $95.2 p/b in 2008. For 2010, Qatar forecasts a nominal GDP growth of 31.0% as oil prices and production picks up and a major addition of LN G production.

Foreign Investment

Qatar welcomes foreign participation in joint ventures through technology supply, market administration and equity participation. Government initiatives to attract the flow of Foreign Capital into the State can be attributed to various investment incentives provided. The State’s commitment in this direction was further witnessed through the passing of the Foreign Investment Law by an Emiri decree in mid-October 2000, the setting up of the “Investment Promotion Department” at the Ministry of Business and Trade, the law establishing the Qatar Science and Technology Park, the law establishing the Qatar Financial Centre, and the new Commercial Law in 2006.

Investment incentives

Qatar welcomes foreign participation in joint ventures through technology supply, market administration and equity participation. The Government offers several attractive incentives for joint ventures, such as:

  • Natural gas priced at a nominal and subsidised rate
  • Electricity at a very nominal rate
  • A developed infrastructure
  • Industrial land at a nominal rent starting at one Qatari Riyal (US$1 = QR 3.64) per square meter peryear; (Note : Land rent can differ from the area and also from the public and private sectors)
  • No custom duties on imports of machinery, equipment and spare parts
  • No export duties
  • No taxes on corporate profits for pre-determined periods

In addition Qatar governmnet also offers the following incentives

  • 5-year renewable tax holidays (Based on Government approval)
  • No income tax on salaries of expatriates
  • No exchange control regulations – the Qatari Riyal is freely convertible at a parity of $1=Qatari Riyals 3.64, a rate of exchange which has been stable for two decades
  • Excellent medical and educational facilities
  • Easy access to world markets with first class air and sea connections
  • Excellent telecommunications facilities
  • Liberal immigration and employment rules to enable import of skilled and unskilled labour

Economic liberalisation measures have been introduced to encourage inward investment. The private sector has been given a greater role to play in the development drive. In the pursuit of developing a strong private sector with an enhanced industrial base, the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) was established in 1997, with an authorised capital of QR 200 million ($54.9 million). QDB is 100% owned by the State of Qatar and provides loans at competitive rates of interest.

Generous incentives have also been granted to private investors and measures were taken to encourage grass-roots projects and joint-venture investments. Non-Qatari capital is welcomed in business and industrial investments in the country. Economic reform decrees have been issued to activate industrial investment activities and to accelerate further the current rapid pace of development. Amongst these were proposals for liberalising the present restrictions upon foreign ownership of Qatari enterprises and plans for the re-codification of the principal commercial law statutes in order to meet the requirements of the next century.

Foriegn Trade

Foreign Trade in Qatar is regulated by the Qatar Customs Law No. 5 of 1988. In general, a person wishing to import goods into Qatar for sale, must be registered in the Importers Register and be approved by Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCC I). The standard rate of customs duty in Qatar is 5% (ad valorem) in accordance with the GCC customs union put in place since January 2003.

Custom exception

  • Personal effects and used household appliances and furniture belonging to foreign employees arriving in Qatar for the purpose of residence
  • Equipment, materials and other supplies belonging to Government entities or state companies
  • Food products such as grains, livestock, tea, coffee, sugar, rice, milk for infants and other essential consumer items
  • Goods imported by embassies, legations and consulates

The folowing documents are required for releasing imports

  • Invoice and shipping document
  • Certificate of origin
  • Producer’s declaration of observance of the Israeli boycott rules
  • Full description of goods
  • Health and quality certificate, if applicable