FREE / ECONOMIC ZONE
Although it has been widely reported in Qatar that three Free Zones will be established, one near the new Doha Port, one near Hamad International Airport (HIA) and one either in the Industrial Area, Losail or the newly created Festival City, to date there are no specifics in terms of time frames or company structures allowed within these Free Zones.
There are two existing Free Zone type entities, these are;
Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) – QSTP only offering free zone set up arrangements to companies involving themselves in major research joint ventures in Qatar and therefore entry to QSTP is extremely limited.
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) – QFC was intended to provide an environment solely to attract international and domestic financial services institutions and service providers in support of those institutions. However, the QFC is now willing to accept applications for business registration from other types of service providers which are not associated with the financial services sector, for example, in the fields of management consultancy, recruitment, sports and entertainment. The QFC aims to operate to international standards and provides a legal and business infrastructure for those doing business within the centre. This process is started by completing an application to enter QFC, after which they review and determine whether or not the business wishing to enter is a strategic fit with the QFC. They will not entertain businesses involved in trading and construction, as mentioned, they consider ‘service provider’ businesses.
Venture Partner Qatar can assist you to form your business under QFC if it fits with their parameters, it is sometimes better to form a Limited Liability Company in the first instance, obtain some ‘track record’ in Qatar and then transfer under the QFC, as the application can be run simultaneously whilst trading.