International trade rules

Export controls

What export controls limit international trade in defence and security articles? Who administers them?

There is no home-grown defence industry in Qatar to date, and therefore no export of locally manufactured weapons. Export control regulations from the defence suppliers’ countries of origin usually contain restrictions on the ability for a state client to re-export equipment to other countries. Each force purchasing foreign equipment will be in charge of managing its export control obligations.

Domestic preferences

What domestic preferences are applied to defence and security procurements? Can a foreign contractor bid on a procurement directly?

The preference is to contract directly with a foreign contractor who will set up a branch office to perform the local part of the contract. However, there are recent examples where the Qatar armed forces request the incorporation of a subsidiary with a designated joint venture partner. See ‘Update and trends’ regarding developments on Barzan Holdings.

Favourable treatment

Are certain treaty partners treated more favourably?

Qatar has signed defence cooperation treaties with a number of countries, the two main partners being the United States and France. In particular, there is a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) between the United States and Qatar to serve as a legal basis for the presence of a large US military base in Qatar. However, Qatar tends to diversify its alliances and has recently signed a defence cooperation agreement with Turkey. The existence of such defence treaties tends to signal a strategic relationship. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the treaties do not grant any more favourable treatment from a commercial or legal perspective when it comes to buying equipment.


Are there any boycotts, embargoes or other trade sanctions between this jurisdiction and others?

Qatar has issued the Qatar Israeli Boycott Law No. 13 of 1963. This law is still in effect and has not been formally amended. The effect of the law is that it prohibits any commercial dealings with Israeli citizens or persons directly or indirectly, which would include any such persons exercising any contractual rights under contracts. In addition, sanctions implemented by Qatar from time to time should be assessed, which can affect transfers or payments with relevant countries, or certain entities or individuals within those countries. See ‘Update and trends’ regarding the current Gulf crisis.

Trade offsets

Are defence trade offsets part of this country’s defence and security procurement regime? How are they administered?

There is no formal defence offset regime in Qatar, but we have seen some recent examples where delivering some added value locally (beyond maintenance and training) was considered favourably by the Qatar armed forces. See ‘Update and trends’ regarding developments on Barzan Holdings.