Qatar to Allow 100% Foreign Ownership of Firms in All Sectors

Qatar is moving ahead with legislation that will allow full foreign ownership of companies operating in the country, trumping a more limited measure proposed this week by its rival across the Gulf.

Ministers “took the necessary measures to issue a draft law” permitting foreigners to own 100 percent of businesses in all economic sectors, according to the official Qatar News Agency. Investors may hold up to 49 percent in listed companies, or larger stakes with government approval.

The legislation follows a directive from Qatar’s emir last year to open up the economy after Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade links last year. It goes further than the U.A.E.’s plan to allow full foreign ownership in certain industries. Both countries currently limit full foreign ownership to designated zones.

Qatar will also provide unspecified incentives to promote foreign investment, QNA reported. No details on when the law will be enacted were disclosed. Legislation to allow permanent residency to some foreign residents of the gas-rich country was announced in August and followed by the U.A.E. this week.

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