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.

Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 767 of the year 2012

On the export of rice

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin.

Date of publication 30 September 2012, issued on 27 September 2012 and shall come into force as of the day following its publication date.

Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 736 of the year 2012

On amending certain provisions of the statute of the rules enforcing the provisions of law on import and export.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin

Date of publication 19 September 2012, issued on 18 September 2012 and shall come into force as of the day following its publication date.

Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 797 of the year 2012

Which referred to Ministerial Decree No. 536 of the year 2011 on imposing an export duty of textile scraps, parings, rags and scrap twine shall continue to apply.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin.

Date of publication 14 October 2012, issued on 13 October 2012 and shall apply for one year as of the day following its publication date.

Ministry of Tourism Decree No. 636 of the year 2012

Regarding Text of Article (3) of Decree of Ministry of Tourism no. 121/2012, text of Article (3) of Decree of Ministry of Tourism No. 121 issued on 29/2/2012 shall be substituted by the following text: "Tourism Companies and Tourism Transportation Companies shall be granted a two-year period to adapt their state of affairs".

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin.

Date of publication 3 October 2012, issued on 18 September 2012 and shall come into force as of the day following its publication date.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette. The following are the latest legislative updates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia according to the latest bulletins of the Official Gazette.

Public Transportation Commission

Having reviewed the Minutes by the Supreme Committee for Administrative Organization regarding a proposal to create a specialised committee for public transportation, the Council of Ministers has approved a number of procedures, including the following: creation of a financially and administratively independent public transportation commission to be named "Public Transportation Commission" and to be based in the city of Riyadh with the objects of organising the public transportation services to passengers inside and between the cities, and supervising and making the same available in good standard and at proper cost and encouraging investment therein to meet the economical and social development objectives in the Kingdom.

Postal Payment Services

Having reviewed the submittal by His Excellency the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 101/45 dated 21/07/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the accession by the Kingdom to the Postal Payment Services Agreement signed in Geneva on 12/08/2008 in the form attached thereto.

Memorandum of Understanding with Armenia

Having reviewed the submittal by the Ministry of Interior, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 86/32 dated 22/06/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Financial Control Centre in the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H. Corresponding to 12/07/2011 G. in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Memorandum of Understanding with France

Having reviewed the submittal by the Ministry of Interior, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 64/32 dated 22/06/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Intelligence and Combating Illegal Financial Networks Agency of the Republic of France for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G. in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Memorandum of Understanding with Korea

Having reviewed the submittal by the Minister of Water and Electricity, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 84/32 dated 29/06/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Water and Electricity and the Ministry of Lands, Transportation and Marine Affairs of the Republic of Korea in the scope of water resources signed in the city of Seoul on 20/11/1431 H. Corresponding to 28/10/2010 G. in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Memorandum of Understanding with Finland

Having reviewed the submittal by the Ministry of Interior, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 75/33 dated 23/06/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the competent authorities in Saudi Arabia and Finland for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Accession to Convention

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the UK Financial Intelligence Unit – Serious Organized Crime Agency (UKFIU) for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Royal Decree No. M/63 Dated 12/09/1433 H (31 July 2012 G)

Having reviewed the submittal by His Royal Highness the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 54/27 dated 09/06/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the accession by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad for 1993 in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Royal Decree No. M/63 Dated 12/09/1433 H (31 July 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the UK Financial Intelligence Unit – Serious Organized Crime Agency (UKFIU) for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers, and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Cooperation Agreement with Malta

Having reviewed the submittal by the Ministry of Interior, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 88/39 dated 07/07/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve the Cooperation Agreement between and by the government of Saudi Arabia and the government of Malta in the scope of combating terrorism, organised crime and illegal trading in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and trafficking thereof signed in the city of Riyadh on 09/02/1433 H, corresponding to 03/01/2012 G, in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Cooperation Agreement with Ethiopia

Having reviewed the submittal by the Ministry of Interior, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 99/45 dated 21/07/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve a framework agreement between and by the government of Saudi Arabia and the government of Ethiopia for cooperation in the scopes of agriculture, and animal and fish resources signed in the city of Addis Ababa on 24/02/1433 H, corresponding to 18/01/2012 G, in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Cooperation Agreement with Mauritania

Having reviewed the submittal by the Ministry of Interior, and having perused the Consultative Council's Resolution No. 89/39 dated 07/07/1433 H., the Council of Ministers hereby resolves to approve an agreement between and by the government of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for cooperation in the scope of combating crime signed in the city of Riyadh on 04/01/1432 H, corresponding to 29/11/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

A Royal Decree has been drafted to that effect.

Royal Decree No. M/65 Dated 18/01433 H (05 September 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the General Department for Combating Money Laundering of the Republic of Albania for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/75 Dated 10/11/1433 H (26 September 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the General Inspectorate for Financial Information of the Republic of Poland for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers, and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/72 Dated 10/11/1433 H (19 September 2012 G)

Approve an agreement between and by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ireland for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion in respect of income taxes including the protocol attached thereto, both signed in the city of Riyadh on 21/11/1432 H, corresponding to 19/10/2011 G, in the forms attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/68 Dated 25/10/1433 H (12 September 2012 G)

Approve an agreement between and by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Kazkhstan for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion in respect of income taxes including the protocol attached thereto, both signed in the city of Astana on 05/07/1432 H, corresponding to 07/06/2011 G, in the forms attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/66 Dated 18/10/1433 H (5 September 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Financial Intelligence Agency of the state of Bermuda for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/79 Dated 17/11/1433 H (3 October 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Intelligence and Combating Illegal Financial Networks Agency of the Republic of France for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers, and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/80 Dated 17/11/1433 H (3 October 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Financial Control Centre in the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached hereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/82 Dated 17/11/1433 H (3 October 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Ministry of Water and Electricity and the Ministry of Lands, Transportation and Marine Affairs of the Republic of Korea in the scope of water resources signed in the city of Seoul on 20/11/1431 H, corresponding to 28/10/2010 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/76 Dated 10/11/1433 H (26 September 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Financial Control Department of the Control Committee of the Republic of Belarus for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers, and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/73 Dated 10/11/1433 H (19 September 2012 G)

Approve an agreement between and by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of Malta for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion in respect of income taxes including the protocol attached thereto, both signed in the city of Riyadh on 10/02/1433 H, corresponding to 04/02/2012 G, in the forms attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers, and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. M/69 Dated 03/11/1433 H (19 September 2012 G)

Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between and by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (Financial Intelligence Unit) and the Centre of Analysis and Reports of Financial Transactions in the Republic of Indonesia for cooperation in the scope of exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing signed in the city of Yerevan on 11/08/1432 H, corresponding to 12/07/2011 G, in the form attached thereto.

The Vice President, the Ministers and the Presidents of the independent concerned institutions, each to the extent of his powers, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Kuwait  

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

Ministry of Information, Ministerial Resolution No. 73 of 2012 concerning the rules governing the showing of movies at cinemas

Sets out the new set of rules relating to the establishment of cinema halls, licensing procedures and the relevant licence fees.  

Promulgated on 15 October 2012      Effective from 21 October 2012

Ministry of Information, Ministerial Resolution No. 74 of 2012 amending certain provisions of the Executive By-law of the Law No. 61 of 2007 concerning audio and visual media issued by Ministerial Decision No. 6 of 2008

Sets out the penalty amounts for the breach of the conditions laid down in the Law No. 61 of 2007 and sets out the guidelines for the notifications of the relevant staff at the companies running the TV channels.  

Promulgated on 15 October 2012      Effective from 21 October 2012

Capital Markets Authority Resolution No. 14 of 2012 amending Articles 313 and 315 of the Executive Regulations of the Capital Markets Law No. 7 of 2010

Amends the rules relating to the appointment of the Board of Directors of the fund and the payment made to such Board members.  

Promulgated on 16 October 2012      Effective from 21 October 2012

Capital Markets Authority Resolution No. 15 of 2012 amending Article 330 of the Executive Regulations of the Capital Markets Law No. 7 of 2010

Amends the rules relating to delaying the redemption requests until the next trading day.  

Promulgated on 16 October 2012      Effective from 21 October 2012

Lebanon

New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette.

Circular No. 21/2012: enhancing transparency and the participation of stakeholders in the making of the laws, regulations and public policies in Lebanon

In contrast with other legal systems in the Middle East, the Lebanese general public and, hence, the economic players in Lebanon, have easy access to the provisions of the laws and regulations in force as these are required to be published in the Official Gazette1. More recent efforts have therefore been made to develop the information of economic players and to encourage their participation in the making of laws and regulations.

Thus, in addition to the aforementioned publication requirement, certain public entities have provided, on their websites, access to meaningful laws and regulations related to their scope of work2. Ministries have also occasionally posted on their websites general information on their global strategy3. Finally, certain entities, which are governed by more recent statutes, are required by law to follow a public consultation procedure prior to adopting regulations, and have developed accordingly transparent information and frameworks for exchanges with economic stakeholders, consumers and the public in general4.

Circular No.21/2012 (the Circular) sets the framework for a general procedure that is meant to ensure adequate information and participation of all stakeholders to the making of laws, regulations and public policies.

The Circular provides for the publication of draft laws and decrees as well as of global strategies and general policy papers on the websites of the public administrations. Such information is required to be posted at least fifteen days ahead of time. Moreover, relevant stakeholders such as the press and academics will be systematically invited to opine on the concerned documents before these are referred to the Council of Ministers to be adopted in their final version.

In order to ensure efficient implementation of the aforementioned procedure, the Circular provides for the appointment of one or several dedicated civil servants in every administration and public body. These civil servants will be entrusted with the task of conducting the consultation process and echoing the public’s concerns within the administration among others through a report. Such concerns will also be reflected in the explanatory notes to the laws.

The Circular should be welcomed. In addition to achieving increased democracy and transparency of the administration, the Circular will allow investors to better understand the Lebanese economy and adequately plan their involvement in it.

Qatar

New legislation is published monthly in the Official Gazette.

Law No. 33 of 2005 on Qatar Financial Market Authority ( the QFMA) was cancelled and replaced by Law No. 8 of 2012

The QFMA has its own legal personality and falls under the authority of the Governor of the Qatar Central Bank. The QFMA shall be managed by a Board of Directors and chaired by the Governor of the Qatar Central Bank. Board members shall be appointed by Emiri Decree; and will include the following:

  • a representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance nominated by the Minister;
  • a representative of the Ministry of Business and Trade nominated by the Minister;
  • the Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority; and
  • two experts nominated by the Chairman in the QFMA's scope of work.

As per the previous law, the QFMA's role is to regulate, supervise and control Financial Markets Activities. Financial Markets Activities are defined as financial operations and services which are conducted by a regulated financial market, a depository, a clearing company or a financial services company and other bodies subject to the QFMA's jurisdiction. In addition, the QFMA shall issue regulations, rules and decisions to regulate the financial markets.

Law No. 6 of 2012 organising Tourism

Under the new law, hotels and all hospitality groups including tour guides and any tourism-related activities are required to be licensed by the Qatar Tourism Authority (the QTA). The QTA is under the authority of the Ministry of Business and Trade. Licences for hotels shall be issued for three years, whilst licences for tourism facilities or activities shall be for one year. Both the QTA and the Minister have the authority to cancel the licence of any hotel or tourism facility for violation of the law; such cancellation will be effective for a minimum of six months.

Law No. 10 of 2012 organising Business Consultancy Services

Requires that every natural or legal person that provides consultancy services must obtain a licence from the competent administrative unit at the Ministry of Business and Trade.

Sultanate of Oman

New legislation is published in the Official Gazette.  

Official Gazette 985 – Published on 22 September 2012

Sultani Decree No. 52/2012  

Establishes the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science and issues its by-laws.

Promulgated on 19 September 2012      Effective on promulgation  

Sultani Decree No. 53/2012  

Appoints Habib bin Mohammed bin Al Shaikh Saeed Al Riyami as Secretary General of the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science.

Promulgated on 19 September 2012      Effective on promulgation  

Ministry of Justice, Decision No. 464/2012  

Amends Article 4 of Ministerial Decision No. 1020/2009 to allow non-Omani advocates rights of audience before the Appeal Courts and Supreme Court until 31 December 2013.

Promulgated on 8 September 2012      Effective from 1 January 2013  

Official Gazette 986 – Published on 6 October 2012  

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Decision No. 209/2012

Lifts the import ban on live poultry from the Republic of India.  

Promulgated on 18 September 2012      Effective from day after publication

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Decision No. 217/2012

Regulates the export of fish and determines the species which cannot be exported.  

Promulgated on 23 September 2012       Effective from 30 September 2012

Official Gazette 987 – Published on 13 October 2012

Ministry of Sports Affairs, Decision No. 361/2012  

Amends some of the provisions of Ministerial Decision No. 177/2008 on the Administrative and Financial Regulations for Sports Associations.

Promulgated on 7 October 2012      Effective from day after publication  

Ministry of Finance, Decision No. 288/2012  

Publishes the final State accounts for the financial year 2011.

Promulgated on 6 October 2012

Ministry of Civil Service, Decision No. 7/2012  

Amends some of the provisions of Ministerial Decision 8/2011 on the determination of “special status” jobs exempt from announcement requirements on appointment.

Promulgated on 7 October 2012       Effective from day after publication  

Official Gazette 988 – Published on 20 October 2012  

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Decision No. 241/2012

Amends some of the provisions of Ministerial Decision No. 4/94 promulgating the Executive Regulations for the Law on Fishing and Protection of Living Aquatic Resources.  

Promulgated on 13 October 2012       Effective from day after publication

Ministry of Manpower, Decision No. 570/2012

Promulgates the by-laws for the formation, operation and registration of trade unions, workers’ union and the General Sultanate of Oman General Workers’ Union.  

Promulgated on 15 October 2012       Effective from day after publication

Civil Service Council, Decision No. 8/2012

Approves the furnishing expenses for non-Omani employees working at the Ministry of Health.  

Promulgated on 10 October 2012        Effective from day after publication

Oman Medical Specialties Board, Decision No. 31/2012

Promulgates the by-laws containing regulations on employees of the Oman Medical Specialties Board.  

Promulgated on 13 October 2012       Effective from day after publication

Turkey  

New legislation is published daily in the Official Gazette.

Communiqué on Principles regarding the Registered Capital System for the Closely Held Companies (Official Gazette No. 28446)  

Brings forth the procedures and principles for the companies to adapt the registered share capital system, increase the capital in line with the requirements of such system, and to leave the system or to be expelled from the system.

Facilitates the capital increase, under certain circumstances, by enabling companies to increase their capital with a board of directors’ resolution instead of a general assembly resolution.  

Stipulates the minimum capital as TL100,000 (approximately USD56,000) in order to enter into registered capital system upon the approval of Ministry of Customs and Trade.

Limits the cap of registered share capital as five times the initial minimum capital.  

Promulgated on 19 October 2012     Effective from 19 October 2012

United Arab Emirates

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

Dubai/UAE Federal Law

The Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA) has approved new regulations which are cumulatively aimed at encouraging trading on local stock markets.

The regulations include governing the licensing of market-makers, licensing procedures, their responsibilities concerning administrative and technical staff and internal supervision, duration and renewal, rules for registration of foreign market-makers, market-makers’ responsibilities and tasks and facilities granted to market-makers.

  • Decision No.46 of 2012 concerning the Regulation as to Market-Maker;
  • Decision No.47 of 2012 concerning the Regulation as to Lending and Borrowing Securities;
  • Decision No 48 of 2012 concerning the Regulation as to Securities Short Selling;
  • Decision No 49 of 2012 concerning the Regulation as to Liquidity Provision.

The new rules will come into force as of the day following their publication in the Official Gazette.