Free Trade Zones
Companies operating at the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) can import goods and services duty free. Foreign entities wishing to invest in the QSTP apply for a license with the Park’s managing board. No other licensing rules prevalent in the country will apply to the above businesses, although individuals will be subject to the criminal and civil laws of the state. Licensed foreign companies can enjoy 100 percent ownership and full capital and income repatriation benefits.
Businesses in the QSTP are exempt from all taxes, including income tax. The property of such a business is not to be seized under any circumstance, but capital and other cash can be seized on the orders of a local court. Equipment, machinery, or any other goods being imported for use by an entity doing business in QSTP are exempt from customs duty, and goods produced in the Park are not subject to export tax. Goods being sold within Qatar, but outside the QSTP, will be subject to the normal customs duty applicable to imported products. Flammable and radioactive materials, drugs, weapons, and explosives are banned from import by any of the licensed businesses.
Qatar has a 2005 law regulating the establishment of free trade zones. Qatar is planning to establish three free-trade zones, but no definite time frame has been announced for their establishment. One zone would be established near the New Doha International Airport (currently under construction with an estimated opening of mid-2011) and would house light industries, financial services, and legal, trade and engineering consultancies. A second zone for the industrial area of Doha would cater to manufacturing and transport companies. The third zone, near Mesaieed Industrial City, would house petrochemical and other downstream-related businesses in the energy sector.