This Update is produced on a monthly basis. It provides an update on new legislation in certain Middle East countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates) where SNR Denton has offices. We also include Turkey and Lebanon updates from our affiliate and associate firms in Istanbul and Beirut respectively.

This Update is not an exhaustive list of all new legislation, but a summary of new legislation that we feel may be significant for clients. Should you require further detail on any of the laws referred to in this Update, please contact the relevant managing partner. Please note that, in some jurisdictions, new laws may come into effect which have not been officially published in the publications we have reviewed as mentioned below. Also, some of the official publications in these jurisdictions are not published on a regular basis.

Egypt

New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette.

Ministerial Decree No. 915 of the year 2012

On the issuance of the Statute of the National Authority for the Development of Sinai Peninsula.

Official Journal.

Dated 23 August 2012                                                 Effective on 24 August 2012

Decree 694 of the year 2012

On terminating the application of provisions of Ministerial Decree No. 902 of the year 2001 and amendments thereto. On Imposing final anti-dumping duties on imports of pencils and colouring pencils exported from China or of Chinese origin.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin; date of publication 9 September 2012, issued on 6 September 2012 and shall apply as of its publication date.

Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 693 of the year 2012

On terminating the investigation procedures regarding the great increase in woven and mixed cotton fabrics imports.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin; date of publication 10 September 2012, issued on 6 September 2012 and shall apply as of its publication date.

Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 696 of the year 2012

On imposing an export duty on certain kinds of scrap and materials.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin; date of publication 9 September 2012, issued on 6 September 2012 and shall apply for one year as of 14 September 2012.

Decree-Law No. 85 of the year 2012

On amending Article No. (41) of the Press Law No. 96 of the year 1996.

Official Journal; issued on 23 August 2012 and shall have the force of law and shall apply as of its date of issue.

Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 709 of the year 2012

On Article (3) of the Ministerial Decree No. 285 of the year 2006 shall be cancelled. The text of Article (3) of Decree No. 285/2006 was as follows: The period remaining for authorising the entry of food products prepared for direct consumption to the Egyptian markets shall be as follows:

  • at least three months for the validity period of more than six months;
  • at least one month for the validity period of three to six months;
  • at least one week for the validity period of less than three months;
  • at least three days for the validity period up to ten days.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin; date of publication 10 September 2012, issued on 9 September 2012 and shall apply effective from the day following its date of publication.

Kuwait  

New legislation published in the Official Gazette and on the Kuwait Stock Exchange Website in Capital Market Authority (CMA) Announcements.

Ministry of Communications, Ministerial Resolution No. 1572 / 2012 concerning mobile phone number portability

Permits the transferability of mobile phone numbers between mobile operators. This Ministerial Decision brings a massive change in the erstwhile legal regime, which did not allow the portability of mobile phone numbers.  

Promulgated 20 September 2012

Effective from 1 January 2013

Ministry of Communications, Ministerial Resolution No. 1617/2012 concerning Internet subscription charges for private residences

Sets the maximum annual charges that Internet service providers may charge for varying Internet speed connection for residential users. The Internet service providers are allowed to charge any amount which is below the rates provided. However, they are not permitted to go beyond such rates. This Ministerial Resolution cancels any previous related orders that may have been published on this subject matter.  

Promulgated on 25 September 2012

Effective from 30 September 2012

Lebanon

New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette.

Decree No. 8475/2012: a new step towards the implementation of the capital markets law

Provides for the appointment of three experts that will sit on the board of the National Council for Financial Markets (NCFM).

The NCFM was established by Law No. 161/2011. It is chaired by the governor of the Lebanese Central Bank (the BdL) and comprises, in addition to its chairman and the three newly-appointed experts, three other members: the chairman of the Banking Control Commission, the general director of the Ministry of Finance and the general director of the Ministry of Economy and Trade.

The three newly-appointed members, whose term of office is five years, are to bring to the council their expertise in the fields of banking, stock markets and finance. The part played by the stock markets and the Lebanese Banks Association in their appointment is expected to strengthen their legitimacy. Moreover, a number of rules, which relate to the revocation of the NCFM board members, multiple office holding, conflicts of interest and disclosure of assets prior to taking of office, apply to them and should secure their independence.

Now that the NCFM’s board is in place, the institution should be able to function and play a central part in regulating the financial markets, safeguarding and encouraging investments on these markets, handling complaints and issuing licences.

The NCFM still has to issue a series of regulations (the internal regulation, the employees’ regulation and the financial regulation) and to address staffing issues. Moreover, the establishment and operation of a specialised court and of a sanctions committee will also be essential to complete the institutional framework for the capital markets. Yet, it is undisputed that the issuance of Decree No. 8475/2012 sets a first and a major milestone towards the implementation of the capital markets law, one year after its enactment.

Qatar

New legislation is published monthly in the Official Gazette.

Council of Ministers' Decision No. 27 of 2012

Establishing National Committee of International Humanitarian Law.

Decree No. 36 of 2012

Ratifying the Arab Convention on Transnational Organized Crimes signed on 21 December 2010. The Convention aims to promote the Arab cooperation to fight and prevent transnational organized crimes.

Decree No. 37 of 2012

Ratifying the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention signed on 21 December 2010. The preamble of the Arab Convention affirms that the fight against corruption is not limited to the official authorities, but people and civil society have a crucial role to play. It also reminds us of the importance of Arab and international cooperation in the extradition of criminals, mutual legal assistance and asset recovery.

Law No. 9 of 2012 (the Law) amending Law No. 13 of 1997 regarding Civil Defence

Under the Law:

  • the Civil Defence Department (CDD) is still responsible for determining safety and security measures in residential, commercial, industrial and administrative buildings or areas;
  • the CDD's approval is required before and after completion of a building project;
  • buildings and projects shall comply with safety and security standards. These include but are not limited to (i) clear signs indicating emergency exits and ways leading to them; (ii) entry and exit points designed appropriately in order not to obstruct Civil Defence vehicles and equipment; and (iii) the width of main passages in commercial outlets; and
  • stricter penalties have been introduced.

Sultanate of Oman

New legislation is published daily in the Official Gazette.  

Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Decision No. 179/2012  

Amends some of the health requirements for barber shops, hairdressing parlours and women’s beauty salons promulgated pursuant to Ministerial Decision No. 219/1999.

Promulgated on 28 August 2012

Effective from day following publication  

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Decision No. 194/2012  

Announces the Wilayats of Suwaiq, Saham and Sohar in the North Al Batinah Governorate as agricultural quarantine areas.

Promulgated on 3 September 2012

Effective from day following publication  

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Decision No. 15/2012

Promulgates the rules allowing the operation of cable stations on board ships within 5925-6425 megahertz and 5-14, 14 gigahertz.

Promulgated on 27 August 2012

Effective from day following publication  

Decision No. 119/2012

Promulgates the regulations regarding domain names.

Promulgated on 27 August 2012

Effective from day following publication  

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Decision No. 120/2012  

Determines the fees for the approval and registration of domain names for .om and .عمان

Promulgated on 27 August 2012

Effective from day following publication  

Sultani Decree No. 48/2012  

Establishes the Education Council and issues its articles of operation.

Promulgated on 10 September 2012

Effective on promulgation  

Sultani Decree No. 49/2012  

Approves the appointment of a General Secretary for the Education Council.

Promulgated on 10 September 2012

Effective on promulgation  

Sultani Decree No. 50/2012  

Approves of the organisational structure of the Public Prosecution.

Promulgated on 10 September 2012

Effective on promulgation  

Sultani Decree No. 51/2012  

Establishes an Omani Embassy in the Republic of Bangladesh.

Promulgated on 10 September 2012

Effective on promulgation  

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Decision No. 199/2012

Lifts the ban on the import of live cattle and their products and derivatives from the Kingdom of Spain.

Promulgated on 9 September 2012

Effective from the day following publication  

Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Decision No. 116/2012  

Exempts certain telecommunication services from the specified licence provisions stated in the Telecommunications Regulatory Act (SD 30/2002).

Promulgated on 27 August 2012

Effective from day following publication  

Turkey

Regulation introducing amendments on the regulation concerning Electric Market Distribution (Official Gazette No. 28408)

Brings forth that the distributor company holds the property of the electricity meters, an equipment which is used to measure the electrical energy consumption, that are provided by such distributor company for a permanent period of time.  

Promulgated on 11 September 2012

Effective from 31 December 2013

Regulation introducing amendments on the regulation concerning Electric Market Customer Services (Official Gazette No. 28408)

Stipulates that a legal person who holds a distributor licence is responsible for the provision and set-up of the electricity meter of the customer to be newly connected to the distribution system.  

Necessitates the provision of all facilities and connection elements by the system connection applicant in accordance with the approved project of distributor company.

States that the cost of electricity meter measurement is upon the applying party only if the suspected reading was in fact correct.  

Promulgated on 11 September 2012

Effective from 31 December 2013

United Arab Emirates

New legislation is published monthly in the Federal and Local Gazettes.  

Dubai/UAE Federal Law  

Amendment to Federal Law No. 11 of 1992, the Civil Procedure Code, to allow the Ministry of Justice or the Chairman of the Local Judicial Authority to establish committees to settle disputes resulting from property development contracts in each Emirate. The committees shall be formed of three judges headed by the most senior, in addition to two experts nominated by the Emirate concerned and their opinion shall be advisory.

The amendment also allows for an appeal process of this committee's decisions.