DOHA: Qatar’s modified arbitration regime is making the country more attractive for companies as an ideal place to settle their disputes, according to a London-based expert. In February 2017, Qatar updated its arbitration regime with the new Qatar Arbitration Law in Civil and Commercial Matters (No 2 of 2017) (the “QAL”).
The QAL is separate from the country’s civil procedural laws and is largely based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. This is a welcome development. The decision is especially important as Qatar is busy working on large number of projects in the run up to the 2022 World Cup, Ali Auda, an Associate in the Construction & Engineering team and International Arbitration group in the London office of Mayer Brown International, told The Peninsula.
On the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Qatar, Auda said the investment opportunities in Qatar are numerous with construction powering ahead as the country prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
In addition, the Vision 2030 plays a strong part in the investment opportunities for investors and a wide variety of sectors are also being developed. The Qatari government is taking steps to improve the investment climate in the country.
The cabinet approved on 4 January 2018 a draft law for non-Qatari investors to attract more foreign capital. Under the new provisions, non-Qatari investors would be able to fund projects completely in the country.
According to the World Bank, Qatar ranks 83 in terms of ease of doing business (2017). This is comfortable with the 95 world average however it is behind its neighbours UAE (21), Bahrain (66), and Oman (71). The draft law for non-Qatari investors should assist with raising the rank of Qatar when compared to its neighbours and the Middle Eastern region, he said.
Qatar has successfully overcome the blockade imposed on it by some neighbouring countries. Despite the initial shock, the general economic condition in Qatar has improved since June 2017. In August 2017, the International Monetary Fund stated that the Qatari economy and financial markets continue to adjust to the effects of the diplomatic rift and that fiscal consolidation is proceeding, underpinned by current expenditure cuts and an increase in non-oil revenues. Moreover, the reform to the investment law and arbitration regime shows the importance placed by the Qatari government to continue to promote itself and develop its attractiveness as a centre for dispute resolution, Auda said.