Qatar Financial Centre open for business

New regional hub will conduct financial and professional services

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By  David Robinson Published  May 2, 2005

The Qatar Financial Centre, a new regional hub for conducting financial and professional services in a low-cost, low-risk environment has opened in Doha. The centre will now receive licence applications from international financial institutions and multinational companies. The QFC will provide special legal and regulatory conditions for companies seeking to locate in Qatar. It will resemble regional financial and business centres already operating in Bahrain and Dubai, which have attracted large numbers of local and foreign companies. Project finance, private wealth management, various forms of insurance, Islamic finance and other financial services are permitted under the QFC's legal regime. Businesses participating in the QFC are entitled to 100 per cent of their profits, and to repatriate them in full. In addition, they are entitled to a three-year tax holiday, after which a corporate tax rate of ten per cent will apply, said Shaikh Mohammad Bin Ahmad Bin Jasem Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce. The centre will be organised as a three-tiered entity. The QFC Authority is the commercial and administrative body. It will drive commercial strategy and develop relationships with the international corporate community and key institutions both inside and outside Qatar. It will have a company registration office. A fully-independent Regulatory Authority will oversee business conduct and grant licenses to operate in the QFC. It will enjoy a broad range of regulatory powers to authorise, supervise, and where necessary, discipline regulated firms and individuals. Both the QFC Authority and the Regulatory Authority will have their own boards of directors. An Appeals Body will hear appeals against decisions of the Regulatory Authority. A statement by the QFC said a complete set of civil and commercial laws is being prepared, covering all areas material to businesses setting up shop in the QFC.

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