While remaining a leader in LNG and oil production, Qatar has expanded its economy on projects for infrastructure, construction, and health services. Qatar is leading the way in energy production, water treatment, and IT infrastructure and remains a strong trading partner to the United States— creating opportunities for trade and investment across all sectors.
Qatar in the Ranks:
- 1st globally in government spending on projects
- 1st globally in terms of tax impact on business incentives
- 8th globally in economic performance
- 11th globally in government efficiency
- 12th globally in business efficiency
- 18th globally on the Global Competitive Index 2016 report
- 29th globally in the 2017 Economic Freedom Index
- 31st globally on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index
- Qatar has the world’s highest per-capita GDP at $132,099
- Qatar’s GDP is $319.8B
- In Q1 2017, Qatar & the US had a $285.5M trade balance
- Qatar will spend $200B on the 2022 FIFA World Cup
- Sports, Recreational, & Cultural Services
- Consultancy & Technical Services
- Development & Exploitation of Natural Resources
Ease of Establishing a Business:
- E-Government (Hukoomi) allows for online registration
- Special Economic Zones & Ministry of Economy & Commerce have streamlined systems for registering companies quickly and efficiently
- One-stop-shop for commercial registration
Access to Finances:
- Funds available through Qatar Science & Technology Park for tech companies
- Ministry of Economy & Commerce financial incentives to assist in establishing a company
- Qatar University Center for Entrepreneurship offers business incubation
- Qatar Development Bank (QDB) world-renowned SME loan program
- Strong financial/banking sector to support transactions
Access to Skilled & Un-Skilled Labor
- Qatar relies heavily on foreign labor, making securing labor rather easy
- Reformed labor laws in place to protect foreign workers, and an end to the ‘Kafala’ system
- Minimum wage and wage protections implemented
What does this mean for US companies?
Qatar’s hydrocarbon wealth has been used strategically to diversify its economy for the purposes of self-sufficiency and development. This has created a strong, free, and growing economy, reliant on foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade for its success. Qatar has created a number of incentives for investment detailed throughout this document.
The Ministry of Economy & Commerce of the State of Qatar
The Ministry’s mission is to lead sustainable economic growth in Qatar. They are charged with creating a diverse business environment that has the necessary safeguards to promote investments and protect consumers. As part of the Ministry’s mission, they have developed a number of economic incentives for companies wishing to engage in trade and investment. In this regard, they follow three key components:
- Government support of investors
- The development of Qatar’s technological competence
- The quality of Qatar’s infrastructure
Why Qatar? Ministry of Economy & Commerce Investment Incentives for Non-Qataris:
- 100% Foreign Ownership
- Exemption from income tax for up to 10 years
- Exemption from customs on imports of machinery & equipment
- Exemption from customs on imports of raw materials
- Unrestricted financial transfers pertaining to investments
- Allocation of lands for project establishment, via renewable rent
Key Infrastructure Components:
Qatar has the logistical capacity to import goods or act as a transit point for trade across the Middle East
- Hamad Port: Opened in 2017, the new port south of Doha can accommodate 7.5 million containers annually with direct shipping routes connecting to several other countries
- Hamad International Airport: One of the largest airports and airlines (Qatar Airways) in the region, with a capacity of 30 million passengers per year
- Special Economic Zones, Logistics, & Industrial Areas in Qatar: Qatar has a number of entities managing several economic zones, logistics areas, and industrial areas that equip non-Qatari investors with the necessary tools and space to develop their operations in Qatar and the region.
Manteq was established in 2011 by the Minister of Economy & Commerce of the state of Qatar. Manateq is charged with managing several economic zones and logistics areas in Qatar, with the goal of further diversifying Qatar’s economy through the development of the private sector and foreign direct investment.
Al Karaana: This is the largest special economic zone with competitively priced land and the necessary infrastructure to attract foreign direct investment through small and medium sized enterprises.
Ras Bufontas: This zone focuses on advanced technologies and manufacturing, located near Hamad International Airport for access to logistics and connectivity networks.
Um Alhoul: This hub is focused on light to medium industrial manufacturing near Qatar’s Hama Port and planned rail freight development projects, providing access to shipping to the region and beyond.
Manateq also manages a number of logistics areas and warehousing areas to support entities seeking foreign direct investment opportunities. Plots are available for Qatari and non-Qatari entities at competitive prices and entities are entitled to the aforementioned Ministry of Economy & Commerce incentives for establishment.
Qatar Financial Centre (QFC)
The Qatar Financial Centre is a global business and financial center. Its onshore platform provides opportunities to expand to and from the Middle East.
Firms operating in QFC benefit from:
- Legal and judicial framework based on English common law
- Independent court, regulatory tribunal and dispute-resolution centre
- 100% foreign ownership
- 100% repatriation of profits
- 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits
- No restrictions on the currency used for trading
- Quick and easy set-up process
- Qatar’s extensive double-taxation agreements network
Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP)
QSTP (a part of Qatar Foundation) supports tech-based entrepreneurship ventures in Qatar through incubation, funding, training, mentorship, and connection to the regional and global tech innovation ecosystem. QSTP strives to accelerate product innovation through its grants, offering opportunities for innovation and collaboration with Qatar Foundation’s research institutes.
Park & Free Zone:
QSTP manages a high-tech business park with state-of-the-art facilities designed for the tech community. They include an innovation center, tech buildings, and single user buildings with competitive rental charges.
Benefits of QSTP:
- Advanced fiber optic network
- Tier 3 data center with hosting and cloud services
- Facilities management services including security, CCTV, and access control
- Meeting facilities with advanced audio-visual systems
- Access to the Product Development Fund geared towards funding small and medium sized enterprises and startups
- Access to the Tech Venture Fund geared towards providing opportunities for tech founders and entrepreneurs to source seed-stage capital
- Intellectual Property protection through Qatar Foundation
- Access to accelerators like QSTP XLR8 & Doha Dojo offering training, coaching, and mentorship