Law No. 34 of 2005 (as amended) governs investment free zones in Qatar. The Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA) was established in 2018 and is empowered to grant licences, permits and land allocations to foreign investors who can establish a 100% wholly owned company in certain free zones. Currently there are two free zones under the QFZA, namely (i) Umm Al Houl Free Zone and (ii) Ras Bu Fontas Free Zone.
What does the Qatar Free Zone offer?
The QFZA offers numerous benefits to investors establishing in the free zones, such as:
- 100% foreign ownership;
- Full repatriation of profits;
- Tax holidays and no customs duties on imports;
- Access to readymade office spaces.
Who Is Eligible for setting up in the Qatar Free Zone?
The QFZA has issued a broad cluster of activities which are permitted to be undertaken by entities wishing to set up in the Free Zone including logistics and warehousing, industrial products and services, food and beverages and consumer goods, IT services, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, marine activities and services, etc. The list is indicative only and is revised and updated from time to time.
Applications could be submitted to QFZA from investors seeking to establish industrial and internationally trading operations within the free zones. The QFZA are willing to consider applications on a case to case basis to determine whether the activities of a particular investor would be a strategic fit and of added value to QFZA. An entity wishing to set up in the free zone would need to submit a short two-page business plan to the QFZA and they will determine if the business plan fits in with the QFZA’s mandate.
The following points should be addressed under the business plan:
- Company/investor background;
- Project description for the free zone;
- Land size requirements and building size requirements;
- Electricity and other utility requirements (sewer/water/IT);
- Employment numbers and skill types;
- Transport logistics – how raw materials and finished goods will be transported to and from the free zone;
- Export plan;
- Capex and source of funds;
- Any other supplementary information.