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The State of Qatar is one of the world’s largest exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) neared $180 billion in 2021, increasing by 24 percent year-on-year owing to higher hydrocarbons sales and overall economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projections, Qatar’s real GDP is projected to increase by 2.4 percent in 2023. This positive outlook is driven mainly by QatarEnergy’s ambitious plans to expand LNG production by more than 60 percent over the next five years. Qatar’s government projects a budgetary surplus of $8 billion in 2023, based on an oil price assumption of $65 per barrel.

The government remains the dominant actor in the economy, though it encourages private investment in many sectors and continues to take steps to encourage more foreign direct investment (FDI). The primary driver of Qatar’s economy is the energy sector, which has attracted tens of billions of dollars in FDI. In line with the country’s National Vision 2030’s goal of establishing a knowledge-based and diversified economy, the Government of Qatar (GoQ) has recently introduced reforms to its foreign investment and foreign property ownership laws. This recent legislation allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses in most sectors and real estate in newly designated areas. In 2020, the government also enacted legislation to regulate and promote public-private partnerships.

Significant opportunities for foreign investment exist in infrastructure, healthcare, education, tourism, energy, information and communications technology, and the service sector. The government allocated $20 billion for major projects in these sectors in 2022. Measured by the amount of inward FDI stock, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, finance, and insurance are the primary sectors that attract foreign investors. The government provides various incentives to attract local and foreign investments, including exemptions from customs duties and certain land-use benefits. The corporate tax rate is 10 percent for most sectors, and there is no personal income tax. One notable exception is the corporate tax of 35 percent on foreign firms in the extractive industries, including but not limited to those in natural gas extraction.

The GoQ recently adopted measures to prosecute human rights violations, improve its human trafficking legislation, address forced labor, and set a minimum wage, but the country continues to face challenges that may affect foreign businesses. These challenges include restrictions on free expression and peaceful assembly, a prohibition on collective bargaining for foreign nationals, discrimination against women in law and practice, and cases of forced labor.

To curb corruption and anti-competitive practices, the GoQ created a regulatory regime consisting of various enabled government agencies, including the Transparency Authority, the National Competition Protection Authority, and the Anti-Monopoly Committee. To improve transparency, the government streamlined its procurement processes in 2016, creating an online portal for all government tenders. Nonetheless, personal connections reportedly play a significant role in concluding business deals.

In recent years, Qatar has significantly bolstered its U.S. investments through its sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and its subsidiaries, notably Qatari Diar. In 2019, QIA pledged to allocate $45 billion to U.S. investments; it opened an office in New York City in 2015 to facilitate its U.S. investments. The fifth U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue took place in Doha from November 2022 to March 2023 and further strengthened strategic and economic partnerships and addressed obstacles to investment and trade.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 40 of 180
Global Innovation Index 2022 52 of 132
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 6,832 
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 62,310

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Over the past few years, the GoQ enacted reforms to incentivize and attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Recent FDI-friendly legislation includes Law 1/2019 permitting full foreign ownership in most economic sectors, Law 16/2018 regulating foreign real estate investment and ownership, and Law 12/2020 regulating public-private partnerships. In 2019, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) set up the Investment Promotion Agency-Qatar to further attract inward FDI. Other FDI facilitating bodies include the Qatar Financial Centre, Qatar Science and Technology Park, and the Qatar Free Zones Authority, all of which offer full foreign ownership and repatriation of profits, tax incentives, and investment funds for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The government’s economic spending plans are also expected to create additional opportunities for foreign investors. For 2023, the government has allocated $17.5 billion for new major projects, including new residential land development and the improvement of public services. The GoQ also plans to increase LNG production, its primary source of revenue, to 126 million metric tons per year by 2027, and Qatari officials expect significant investment opportunities for international companies in the upstream and downstream sectors.

GoQ extends preferential treatment to suppliers who use local content in their bids on government contracts. Participation in tenders with a value of five million Qatari riyals ($1.37 million) or less are limited to local small- and medium-sized enterprises. Higher-value tenders, in theory, do not require any local commercial registration; in practice, certain exceptions exist.

Qatar maintains an ongoing dialogue with the United States through both official and private sector tracks, including the annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, official trade missions, and institutional relationships between U.S. government agencies with Qatari counterparts. Qatari officials have repeatedly emphasized a desire to increase American investments in Qatar and Qatari investments in the United States.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Although Law 1/2019 on Regulating the Investment of Non-Qatari Capital in Economic Activity (replacing Law 13/2000) grants foreign investors the ability to invest in Qatar – either by partnering with a Qatari investor owning 51 percent or more of the enterprise or by applying to MOCI for up to 100 percent foreign ownership. Not all sectors are open to foreign investment. Law 1/2019 limits foreign ownership to 49 percent in the sectors of banking, insurance, and commercial agencies, barring a special dispensation from the Cabinet. Some sectors, such as telecommunications, are monopolized by local state-owned enterprises and are closed off to domestic or foreign competition.

Law 16/2018 on Regulating Non-Qatari Ownership and Use of Properties allows foreign individuals, companies, and real estate developers freehold ownership of real estate but limits ownership to nine designated zones and ‎usufructuary rights up to 99 years in 16 other zones. Foreigners may also own villas within selected residential complexes and retail outlets in specific commercial complexes. Foreign real estate investors and owners are eligible for residency in Qatar for as long as they own their property. The Cabinet created the Office for Non-Qatari Real Estate Ownership in 2020 to regulate foreign real estate ownership and use.

The Invest in Qatar Center within MOCI is the entity responsible for vetting full foreign ownership applications. Establishing a legal presence in the country is a requirement to conducting business in Qatar. There are no strict workforce localization quotas, though foreign investors wishing to operate wholly owned companies in Qatar will be required to submit a workforce localization plan. U.S. investors and companies are not disadvantaged by existing ownership or control mechanisms, sector restrictions, or investment screening mechanisms more than other foreign investors. However, difficulties have been reported by wholly owned U.S. companies with a presence in Qatar seeking to establish local bank accounts to pay local employees, as required. Some of the administrative requirements for launching a business in Qatar have not caught up with recent adjustments to regulations on foreign ownership, creating bureaucratic hurdles and difficulties for fully foreign owned companies.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

Qatar underwent a World Trade Organization (WTO) policy review in April 2021. The review is available on the WTO website ( )

Business Facilitation

Recent reforms have further streamlined the commercial registration process. Local and foreign investors may apply for a commercial license through MOCI’s physical one-stop-shop or online through the Invest in Qatar portal. Per Law 1/2019, upon submitting a complete application, the Ministry will issue its decision within 15 days. Rejected applications can be resubmitted or appealed. Upon approval, registering a small-size limited liability company in Qatar is estimated to take eight to nine days. For more information on the application and required documentation, visit: 

Domestic and foreign companies may also opt to register in one of Qatar’s economic zones:

Outward Investment

Qatar does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad. According to the World Bank, Qatar’s outward foreign investment net outflows reached $160 million in 2021. Sectors that account for most of Qatar’s outward FDI are finance and insurance, transportation, storage, information and communication, and mining and quarrying. Qatar also holds significant foreign holdings in real estate and hospitality. Per the latest publicly available statistics (2018), Qatari investment firms held investments in over 80 countries, with the top destinations being the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and other Arab countries.

Qatar is a signatory to 63 bilateral investment treaties (BITs), 29 of which are in force, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). While Qatar has not entered a bilateral investment or trade treaty with the United States, the two nations established a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2004. Additionally, as part of the GCC, Qatar has signed 12 treaties with investment provisions (TIPs), including one between the GCC and the United States in 2012, but this treaty has not yet entered into force. A complete list of current BITs with the State of Qatar can be found at: .

In total, Qatar is a signatory to more than 70 agreements for the Avoidance of Double Taxation. The most recent agreements were with Argentina in 2022 and Egypt in 2023. Qatar does not have a double taxation treaty with the United States. However, in 2015, it became the first GCC country to sign a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) intergovernmental agreement with the United States. Qatar is a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and is also party to the Framework’s October 2021 agreement on the two-pillar solution to global tax challenges, including instituting a global minimum corporate tax.

In recent years, Qatar has further developed its taxation regime. In 2019, the GoQ established the General Tax Authority as the government’s central tax collection and compliance body. In the same year, the authority implemented the GCC 2016 Excise Tax Framework Agreement through Law 25 of 2018, imposing consumption-based excise taxes on select goods deemed harmful to human health. These include tobacco (100 percent excise tax), sweetened carbonated drinks (50 percent), energy drinks (100 percent), and “special-category goods,” including alcoholic beverages (100 percent) and pork (100 percent). The decision applies to both locally produced and imported goods in those categories. Starting April 2021, the GoQ halted the alcoholic excise tax until December 2022. Qatar has agreed to introduce a five percent value-added tax (VAT) as a GCC member state. Although Qatar approved a draft law on the proposed VAT in 2017, it has yet to commit to an implementation timeline.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Qatar has taken measures to protect competition and ensure a free and efficient economy. The World Trade Organization recognizes Qatar’s legal framework to be conducive to private investment and entrepreneurship and enabling the development of an independent judiciary system. In addition to the National Competition Protection and Anti-Monopoly Committee, regulatory authorities exist for most economic sectors and are mandated to monitor economic activity and ensure fair practices. However, Qatar lacks a transparent rulemaking mechanism, according to the World Bank’s Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance.

Government ministries and regulatory agencies do not share regulatory plans or publish draft laws for public consideration. A public consultation process does not exist in Qatar, but the 45-member Shura Council (30 of which are publicly elected officials) must reach a consensus to pass draft legislation developed by various ministries and approved by the Cabinet. The Cabinet receives Shura Council-approved legislation for further review and submits them to the Amir for final approval. The text of all legislation is published online and in local newspapers upon approval by the Amir. All Qatari laws are issued in Arabic and eventually translated to English. Qatar-based legal firms provide translations of Qatari legislation to their clients. Each approved law explicitly defines and tasks one or more government entities with implementation and enforcement. In some cases, the law also sets up regulatory and oversight committees consisting of representatives of concerned government entities to safeguard enforcement. Qatar’s official legal portal is .

Qatar’s primary commercial regulator is MOCI. The Commercial Companies’ Law 11/2015 and its amended articles in Law 8/2021 require that publicly traded companies submit financial statements to the Ministry in compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the International Accounting Standards (IAS). Publicly listed companies must also publish financial statements at least 15 days before annual general meetings in two local newspapers (in Arabic and English) and on their websites. All companies must prepare accounting records according to standards promulgated by the IAS Board.

Since joining the United Nations’ initiative on sustainable development (SSEI) in 2016, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) has published guidance on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting – encouraging, but not requiring, publicly listed companies to report on ESG.

While QSE encourages listed companies to report against the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards for their own reporting, the Exchange has also designed a set of ESG Key Performance Indicators to help listed companies that cannot adopt the GRI standards at this point of time. ESG disclosures may soon become a requirement of all listed companies.

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is the primary financial regulator that oversees all financial institutions in Qatar, per Law 13/2012, which established a Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee to promote financial stability and enhance regulatory coordination, headed by the QCB Governor. According to Law 7/2005, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Regulatory Authority is the independent regulator of the QFC firms and individuals conducting financial services in or from the QFC. Still, the QCB also oversees financial markets housed within QFC. QFC regulations are available at .

The GoQ is transparent about its public finances and debt obligations. QCB publishes quarterly banking data, including external government debt, government bonds, treasury bills, and Sukuk (Islamic bonds) at .

International Regulatory Considerations

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – a political and economic regional bloc. Laws based on GCC regulations must be approved through Qatar’s domestic legislative process and are reviewed by the Qatari Cabinet and the Shura Council before implementation. Qatar has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1996 and usually notifies its draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Qatar’s legal system is based on civil and Islamic Sharia laws. The Constitution takes precedence over all laws, followed by decrees and ministerial decisions. The Supreme Judicial Council appoints all judges under Law 10/2003, oversees Qatari courts, and functions independently from the executive branch of the government, per the Constitution. Qatari courts adjudicate civil and commercial disputes per civil and Sharia laws. International agreements have equal status with Qatari laws; the Constitution ensures that international pacts, treaties, and agreements to which Qatar is party are respected. Contract enforcement is governed by the Civil Code Law 22/2004.

Law 21/2021 promogulated the establishment of an Investment and Commerce Court to oversee all commercial lawsuits and disputes. Pending the establishment of the new court, domestic and commercial disputes continue to be settled in civil courts. Decisions made in civil courts and the new Investment and Commerce Court can be appealed before the Court of Appeals or later the Court of Cassation. Law 20/2021 on Mediation in the Settlement of Civil and Commercial Disputes is applied when parties agree to mediate and settle commercial disputes.

Companies registered with the MOCI are subject to Qatari courts and laws, primarily the Commercial Companies Law 11/2015, with some amendments in Law 8/2021. Meanwhile, companies set up through Qatar Financial Center are regulated by commercial laws based on English Common Law and the courts of the QFC Regulatory Authority. The QFC legal regime is separate from the Qatari legal system—except for criminal law—and is only applicable to companies licensed by the QFC. Similarly, companies registered within the Qatar Free Zones Authority are governed by specialized regulations. Law 15/2021 provides amendments to the Free Zones Law 34/2005, further protecting registered companies from unlawful license revocations.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Law 1/2019 on Regulating the Investment of Non-Qatari Capital in Economic Activity and Law 16/2018 on Regulating Non-Qatari Ownership and Use of Properties aims to encourage greater foreign investment in the economy by authorizing, incentivizing, and protecting foreign ownership. The MOCI’s Invest in Qatar Center is Qatar’s main investment registration body. It gives preference to investments that add value to the local economy and align with the country’s national development plans. It has a physical ‘one-stop-shop’ and an online portal. For more information on investment opportunities, commercial registration application, and required documentation, visit .

Different laws and regulations govern foreign direct investment at the Qatar Financial Centre ( ), the Qatar Free Zones Authority ( ), and the Qatar Science and Technology Park ( ).

Competition and Antitrust Laws

Specific sectors are not open for domestic or foreign competition, such as public transportation and fuel distribution and marketing. In such sectors, semi-public companies maintain a predominant role. Law 19/2006 for the Protection of Competition and Prevention of Monopolistic Practice established the Competition Protection and Anti-Monopoly Committee to receive complaints about anti-competition violations. The law protects against monopolistic behavior by entities outside the state if deemed to impact the Qatari market. The law also allows state institutions and government-owned companies absolute or predominant roles in some sectors.

Qatari legislation permits international law firms with at least 15 years of continuous experience in their countries of origin to operate in Qatar; however, they can only be licensed if Qatari authorities deem their fields of specialization useful to Qatar. Cabinet Decision Number 4/2011 stipulates that the Doha office of an international law firm can practice in Qatar only if its main office in the country of origin remains open.

Expropriation and Compensation

Under current legislation (Law 1/2019 and Law 16/2018), the government protects foreign investment and property from direct or indirect expropriation, unless for public benefit, in a non-discriminatory manner, and after providing adequate compensation. Law 8/2022 covers the rules of expropriation for public benefit. The same procedures are applied to the expropriated property of Qatari citizens. Expropriation is unlikely to occur in the investment zones where foreigners may purchase or obtain rights to property. However, the law does not restrict the expropriation power in these areas. The Cabinet approved three expropriation decisions between 2021-2022.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Qatar has been party to the 1958 New York Convention since 2011 and a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) since 2002. Qatar enforces foreign arbitral decisions concluded in states party to the New York Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The government accepts binding international arbitration of investment disputes; nevertheless, Qatari courts will not enforce judgments or awards from other courts in disputes emanating from legal proceedings or arbitrations made under the jurisdictions of other nations/systems. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Qatar was involved in ten investment disputes over the past ten years, nine of which were initiated by Qatari investors against foreign governments. Three of the ten disputes have been discontinued and the remaining seven are still ongoing.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) features an Alternative Dispute Resolution Center. Although primarily concerned with hearing commercial matters arising within the QFC itself, the QFC has expanded the center’s jurisdiction to accept other disputes at its discretion. The Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Center (QICDRC) adjudicates disputes brought by firms associated with the QFC in accordance with English common law.

Qatar’s arbitration law (Law 2/2017), based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, gives the QICDRC the jurisdiction to oversee arbitration cases in Qatar in line with recent local and international developments. There is no set duration for dispute resolution and the time to obtain a resolution depends on the case. The QICDRC publishes past judgments on its website: .

U.S. firms are advised to consult with a Qatari or foreign-based law firm when executing contracts with local parties to protect their interests.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Two concurrent bankruptcy regimes exist in Qatar. The first is the local regime, set out in Commercial Law 27/2006 (Articles 606-846). The bankruptcy of a Qatari citizen or a Qatari-owned company is rarely announced. The law aims to protect creditors from a bankrupted debtor whose assets are insufficient to meet the amount of the debts. The government sometimes plays the role of the guarantor to prop up domestic businesses and safeguard creditors’ rights. Bankruptcy is punishable by imprisonment, but the length of the prison sentence depends on violations of other penal codes, such as concealment or destruction of company records, embezzlement, or knowingly contributing to insolvency. The second bankruptcy regime is encoded in QFC’s Insolvency Regulations of 2005 and applies to corporate bodies and branches registered within the QFC. Some local firms offer full dissolution bankruptcy services to QFC-registered companies.

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) established the Qatar Credit Bureau in 2010 to promote credit growth in Qatar. The Credit Bureau provides QCB and the banking sector with a centralized credit database to inform economic and financial policies and support the implementation of risk management techniques as outlined in the Basel II Accord.

Investment Incentives

Qatar does not impose a personal income tax and the new foreign investment law (Law 1/2019) offers a variety of other incentives to foreign investors, which may include the following:

  • Exemption from 10 percent corporate tax for a pre-defined period of up to 10 years.
  • Exemption from customs duties on imports of necessary machinery and equipment.
  • Exemption from customs duties on imports of raw materials or imports of half-manufactured goods necessary for production and not available in the local market.
  • Preferential utility prices.
  • Up to 100 percent foreign ownership and no limit on repatriation of capital.

The legislation provides for the establishment of some industrial projects in designated industrial zones under the Qatar Free Zones Authority; those projects receive the following incentives:

  • Exemption from 10 percent corporate tax for up to 20 years.
  • Zero custom duties on imports.
  • Potential access to government-backed investment funds.
  • 100 percent foreign ownership and no limit on repatriation of capital.
  • Opportunities for joint ventures with local companies.

QatarEnergy determines the amount of foreign equity and the extent of incentives for industrial energy-related projects; Law 8/2018 regulates the process.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Qatar has several free zones and business facilitation options, namely the Qatar Financial Center, Qatar Science and Technology Park, and Qatar Free Zones Authority:

  • Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is an onshore business platform that allows international financial institutions and professional service companies to establish offices in Qatar with 100 percent foreign ownership and full repatriation of profits. Locally sourced profits are subject to a 10 percent corporate tax. The QFC has an independent regulatory regime based on English common law. The QFC Regulatory Authority acts as the regulator for financial firms operating under QFC’s umbrella. The QFC Regulatory Tribunal and Qatar International Court hear and adjudicate cases. Judgments issued though these bodies are only of value if enforced by Qatari courts against persons and/or Qatar-based assets. Goldman Sachs International, Mastercard Gulf, Uber, and Oracle are among the companies registered with QFC.
  • The Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) is a hub designed to conduct research and development and facilitate expertise and technology transfer. The hub offers grants and incubators to foreign and local innovators. QSTP permits licensed foreign companies to own up to 100 percent of their projects and fully repatriate capital and income. Companies operating at the QSTP can import goods and services duty-free and export goods produced at the park tax-free. Firms operating at the park are also exempt from all taxes, including the 10 percent corporate tax. The property of these businesses cannot be seized under any circumstance, but capital and other cash may be seized on the orders of a local court. Microsoft, ExxonMobil, GE, Cisco, Cypher Learning, and ConocoPhillips are QSTP-based companies.
  • The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) oversees two free zones in Qatar: Ras Bufontas near the country’s international airport and Umm Alhoul adjacent to the country’s largest commercial seaport. Companies operating in these free zones are permitted 100 percent foreign ownership, corporate tax exemption for up to 20 years, full repatriation of profits, custom duties exemption on all imports, and a range of other incentives. Aspiration Inc., Eat Just Inc., Google, DHL, Inventus Power, Microsoft, Tradeshift, UPS, and Volkswagen are notable examples of multinational companies operating at the QFZA.

Law 12/2020 on Organizing the Partnership between the Public and Private Sector represents the government’s most recent attempt to attract foreign investors and develop the private sector.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

There are no laws that obligate the private sector to hire Qatari nationals. The Minister of Labor recently announced a draft law on localization of jobs but did not share more specific information. Still, the public sector and institutions working closely with the government on projects and joint ventures (such as energy companies operating in Qatar) are required to hire Qatari nationals. Workforce localization policy (known as “Qatarization”) in the public sector is a central focus of the country’s National Vision 2030, and foreign investors wishing to operate wholly owned companies will be required to submit a Qatarization plan. In 2020, the cabinet approved a draft law mandating that Qataris make up at least 60 percent of the employees of state-owned enterprises or companies where the government is a majority investor and 80 percent of employees those entities’ human resource offices. The draft decree is pending final approval. Children of Qatari women are considered Qatari nationals for purposes of calculating this localization ratio. The government allocates visa slots for hiring nationals of specific countries based on preset quotas; such slots are non-transferable without obtaining approval from the Ministry of Labor.

While Qatar does not follow a forced localization policy, the government provides preferential treatment to suppliers that use local content in bids when competing for government contracts. The GoQ also gives a 10 percent price preference to goods produced with Qatari content. Cabinet Decision 11/2022 mandates that participation in government tenders valued at less than QAR 5,000,000 (equivalent to approximately $1.37 million) is limited to local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Tenders involving higher valuations do not, in theory, require any company specifications or local commercial registration; however, in practice, certain exceptions exist.

Qatar’s national oil and gas company, QatarEnergy, operates an industry-specific localization initiative (Tawteen), which requires all suppliers and bidders to undergo an assessment by a third-party auditor to determine their In-Country Value (ICV) score. QatarEnergy and its subsidiary companies would assess bidders’ ICV scores in addition to technical and commercial criteria when evaluating bids. The formula for calculating a company’s ICV score can be found at .

No specific performance requirements exist for Qatar-based foreign investment. While disclosure of financial and employment data is required, proprietary information is not. There are no known formalized requirements for foreign IT providers to turn over source code or provide access to the authorities for surveillance. Cross-border data transmission is allowed in compliance with the law. Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority – established as an independent body by Amiri Decree 42/2014 – regulates the information and communications technology sector. Qatar was the first Gulf nation to enact a Data Protection Law 13/2016, which requires companies to comply with restrictions related to collecting, disclosing, and safekeeping of personal data. The regulator responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Law is the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Real Property

A set of laws, ministerial decrees, and resolutions make up the country’s jurisprudence on property rights and ownership. Law 16/2018 designates nine zones where foreign investors, companies, and real estate developers are permitted full property ownership. The law also allows foreign investors the usufructuary right of up to 99 years in 16 other zones. Additionally, foreigners may own villas within residential complexes and retail outlets in specific commercial complexes. Per Cabinet Resolution 28/2020, the Office for Non-Qatari Real Estate Ownership facilitates foreign real estate ownership procedures. The government grants non-Qatari real estate owners residency for as long as they own their properties. Meanwhile, Law 6/2014 regulates real estate development and stipulates that non-Qatari companies should have at least ten years of experience and be headquartered in Qatar to carry out real estate development activities at selected locations.

The GoQ enforces property leasehold rights. Qatar’s Rent Law 4/2008 extends more protections to the lessee while regulating lessors. The government grants several enforceable rights to the lessee, including protection from rent hikes during the lease period and enforcement of the lease contract terms should the lessor transfer ownership. The government protects lessors against tenants’ violations of lease agreements. Per amendments published in Law 6/2022, the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee enforces these regulations. Chaired by a judge of the Court of First Instance, the committee also hears and issues binding decisions on rental disputes.

Law 16/2021 establishes the rules for mortgaging movable assets (both tangible and intangible) and formally introduces the concepts of floating mortgages, debt subordination, and contractual enforcement in the market. The Ministry of Municipality oversees the preparation of all records related to the selling, leasing, waiver, and bequeathing of real estate. A reliable electronic database exists to check for encumbrances, including liens, mortgages, and restrictions, and keep all titles and deed records in digital format.

Intellectual Property Rights

Qatar is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 Report.

While Qatar’s intellectual property (IP) legal regime is still under development, it is robust and includes a wide range of legislation that protects different types of IP rights. Qatar’s IP legislation consists of the Trademark and Copyright Law (2002), the Protection of Trade Secrets and Protection of Layout Design Law (2005), the Patent Law (2006), and most recently, the Protection of Industrial Designs and Models Law (2020). Qatar has signed many international IP treaties, and Qatari laws and regulations guarantee the implementation of those treaties. These laws grant foreign applicants the same rights as Qataris, provided they are nationals of a state that gives Qatar reciprocal treatment.

Intellectual property owners can apply for IP rights at MOCI, which is mandated by Law 20/2014 to enforce IP legislation and regulations. An IP Protection Department has been set up with offices focusing on trademarks, copyrights, patents, industrial designs, and innovations within the ministry. The following are the periods of validity for the different types of registered IP:

  • Patents: Valid for 20 years from the date of filing.
    • The Ministry of Public Health requires the registration of all imported pharmaceutical products and rejects registration requests for unauthorized copies of products patented in other countries. Qatar also recognizes pre-existing GCC patents on pharmaceutical products.
    • The GCC Patent Office used to provide an affordable and efficient option for companies seeking intellectual property protection throughout the six GCC member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE). Effective January 2021, the office stopped accepting new patent filings. The decision now forces companies seeking patent registration in the GCC region to file separate applications in each country, pay six separate fees, and endure a substantial waiting period before their patents are registered in all six states.
  • Copyrights: Protected for 50 years after the author’s death.
    • Per Qatari law, failure to register at MOCI will not affect the protection of the copyright. While the law does not protect unpublished works and does not criminalize end-user piracy, Qatar is party to the Bern and Paris Conventions. It abides by their mandates regarding unpublished works. The IP Protection Department works with law enforcement authorities to prosecute unlicensed video and software resellers.
  • Trademarks: Valid for ten years but can be renewed indefinitely; trademarks unused for five consecutive years are subject to cancellation.
    • The GCC Customs Union approved a common trademark law; Qatar is taking steps to enact it.
  • Industrial Designs: Valid for five years from submission date but can be renewed twice.
    • This law covers the visual design rather than an original product’s functional or technical aspects. Law 10/2020 on the Protection of Industrial Designs was enacted in May 2020.

The law on Intellectual Property Border Protection (Law 17/2011) forbids the importation of any products that infringe on any intellectual property rights protected in Qatar and obligates the General Authority of Customs to take measures to prevent the entry of infringing products into Qatar. Given sufficient evidence, the law also permits IP rights holders to block the release of imported products that infringe on their rights. The General Authority of Customs operates an electronic system, accredited by the World Customs Organization, to detect and limit the importation of counterfeit goods.

The existing Qatari Penal Code imposes hefty fines on individuals dealing in counterfeit products. It prescribes prison terms for offenders convicted of counterfeiting, imitating, fraudulently affixing, selling products, offering services of a registered trademark, or other IP violations. The General Authority of Customs, the MOCI Consumer Protection and IP Protection Departments, and the Ministry of Interior conduct surveys, search shops, and seize and destroy counterfeit products.

Qatar is a member of the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and is a signatory of several WIPO treaties. For additional information on national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at

Companies and individuals seeking assistance on pursuing IP protections and enforcement claims in Qatar can consult a list of local attorneys posted on the U.S. Embassy Doha website:

Additional Resources for Rights Holders

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Regional IP Attaché
Aisha Y. Salem-Howey, Intellectual Property Attaché for the Middle East & North Africa
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service
U.S. Embassy, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

The GoQ has permitted foreign portfolio investment since 2005. There are no restrictions on the flow of capital in Qatar. The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) adheres to conservative policies to maintain a stable banking sector. QCB respects IMF Article VIII and does not restrict payments or transfers for international transactions. Under QCB guidelines, banks operating in Qatar give priority to Qataris and public development projects in their financing operations. As of 2021, the GoQ has $60.3 billion in external debt.

Almost all import transactions require standard letters of credit from local banks and their correspondent banks in the exporting countries. Financial institutions extend credit facilities to local and foreign investors within standard international banking practices. Creditors typically require foreign investors to produce a letter of guarantee from their local sponsor or equity partner. Banks usually refrain from extending credit facilities to single customers exceeding 20 percent of the bank’s capital and reserves. QCB does not allow cross-sharing arrangements among banks. Per a February 2022 circular, QCB requires banks to maintain a credit to deposit ratio of 100 percent for issuance and borrowing with three years or above maturity, 50 percent for two years, and 25 percent for one year maturity.

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), founded in 1997 and comprising 49 listed companies, is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges. QSE has been appointed by the QCB as the main entity tasked with promoting Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting among listed companies. Existing legislation allows full foreign ownership of Qatari companies listed on the QSE. In April 2021, the GOQ approved a law allowing non-Qatari investors to own up to 100 percent of companies listed on Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), and in August 2021 QCB announced a cabinet decision allowing to open for listed Qatari banks to 100 percent foreign investment. Foreign portfolio investment in national oil and gas companies or companies with the right to explore national resources cannot exceed 49 percent.

Money and Banking System

Qatar has a comprehensive banking sector that offers conventional and Shariah-compliant products and services. The country’s banking sector is composed of 17 banks, nine of which are Qatari banks, and the remaining eight are foreign financial institutions. The $500 billion industry is dominated by government-owned Qatar National Bank (QNB) which enjoys over 50 percent of domestic market share in total assets, loans, and deposits with smaller lenders competing for the remaining opportunities. Qatar also has its state-run Qatar Development Bank created to support local SMEs. Qatari banks are well capitalized with a low non-performing loans ratio that stood at 3.6 percent in 2022. The GoQ has always supported its banking sector where necessary (recent examples include during the GCC rift in 2017 and COVID-19 pandemic in 2020) and is expected to continue to do so, given the country’s substantial reserves. To open a bank account in Qatar, foreigners must present proof of residency, with some banks requiring minimum deposits or minimum salary requirement of up to QAR 5000 ($1300).

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is the primary regulator of the financial sector in the country and governs both conventional and Shariah-compliant institutions. QCB manages liquidity by mandating a reserve ratio of 4.5 percent and utilizing treasury bonds, bills, and other macroprudential measures. Banks that do not abide by the required reserve ratio are penalized. QCB uses repurchase agreements backed by government securities to inject liquidity into the banks. According to QCB data, total domestic liquidity reached $193 billion in November 2022, and only 2.6 of Qatar’s bank loans in 2021 were nonperforming.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Due to minimal demand for the Qatari riyal outside Qatar and the national economy’s dependence on gas and oil revenues priced in U.S. dollars in international markets, the government has pegged the riyal to the U.S. dollar. The official peg is QAR 1.00 per $0.27 or $1.00 per QAR 3.64, as set by the government in June 1980 and reaffirmed by Amiri decree 34/2001.

Remittance Policies

Qatar neither delays remittance of foreign investment returns nor restricts the transfer of funds associated with an investment. These include return on dividends, return on capital, interest and principal payments on private foreign debt, lease payments, royalties, management fees, proceeds generated from sale or liquidation, sums garnered from settlements and disputes, and compensation from expropriation to financial institutions outside Qatar.

Per Law 20/2019 on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, QCB requires financial institutions to apply due diligence before establishing business relationships, carrying out financial transactions, and performing wire transfers. Executive regulations for this law stipulate that originator information should be secured when a wire transfer exceeds QAR 3,500 ($962). Similarly, due diligence is required when a customer completes occasional transactions in a single operation or several linked operations exceeding QAR 50,000 ($13,736). In similar efforts to combat money laundering, per Law 20/2019 and its subsequent Cabinet Resolution 41/2019, travelers to or from Qatar are required to complete a declaration form upon entry or departure if carrying cash, precious metals, financial instruments, or jewelry, valued at QAR 50,000 or more ($13,736). Law 4/2022 regulates the use of cash in the domestic market, and additionally restricts cash transactions exceeding QAR 50,000 in value ($13,736).

Qatar is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In February 2023, the FATF plenary endorsed Qatar’s Mutual Evaluation Report. In July 2017, Qatar signed a counterterrorism Memorandum of Understanding with the United States, facilitating information sharing, joint training, enhanced cooperation, and other deliverables related to combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, was established in 2005 and is chaired by the Central Bank Governor. The fund does not publicly disclose the size of its investments, but they are estimated to amount to $475 billion, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI). QIA pursues direct investments in luxury brands, prime real estate, banks, as well as healthcare, technology, and infrastructure investments. The fund has subsidiaries that invest locally and globally in sports, hospitality, and real estate development. In 2015, QIA opened an office in New York City and has approximately $50 billion in investments in the United States. QIA’s real estate subsidiary, Qatari Diar, has operated an office in Washington, D.C., since 2014.

QIA was one of the early supporters of the Santiago Principles and among the members who drafted the principles’ initial and final versions; QIA continues to be a proactive supporter of its implementation. QIA supported the establishment of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds and helped create the forum’s constitution. QIA is also a founding member of the IMF-hosted International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds.

The State Audit Bureau oversees state-owned enterprises (SOEs), several operating as monopolies or holding exclusive rights in most economic sectors. Despite the dominant role of SOEs in Qatar’s economy, the government has affirmed support for the local private sector. It encourages small and medium-sized enterprise development as part of its National Vision 2030. The Qatari private sector is favored in bids for local contracts and generally receives favorable terms for financing at local banks. The following are Qatar’s major SOEs:


  • QatarEnergy, (formerly known as Qatar Petroleum) its subsidiaries, and its partners operate all oil and gas activities in the country. The government wholly owns QatarEnergy. Non-Qataris can invest in its stock exchange listed subsidiaries, but shareholder ownership is limited to two percent and total non-Qatari ownership to 49 percent.
  • Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) is the sole utility provider in the country and is majority-owned by Qatari government entities. To privatize the sector, the Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) was established in 2001 as a separate and private provider that sells its desalinated water and electricity to Kahramaa. Other privatization efforts included the Ras Laffan Power Company, founded in 2001, and 55 percent owned by a U.S. company.


  • Qatar Airways is the country’s national carrier and is wholly owned by the state.


  • Qatar General Postal Corporation is a state-owned postal company. Several other delivery companies compete in the courier market, including Aramex, DHL Express, and FedEx Express.

Information and Communication:

  • Ooredoo Group is a Qatar-based multinational telecommunications company founded in 2013. Ooredoo Qatar dominates both the cell and landline telecommunications markets domestically and is 66.2 percent owned by Qatari government entities. Ooredoo Qatar is listed on the Qatari Stock Exchange and its remaining shares are open to foreign investment.
  • Vodafone Qatar is the country’s only other telecommunications operator, with the quasi-governmental entity Qatar Foundation owning 45 percent of its shares. Other Qatari government entities and Qatar-based investors own another 17.8 percent, making the company majority government-owned. Vodafone Qatar is listed on the Qatari Stock Exchange and its remaining shares are open to foreign investors.

Qatari SOEs adhere to their own corporate governance codes and are not required to follow the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance, however, they operate under close government oversight. When an SOE is involved in an investment dispute, the case is reviewed by the appropriate sector regulator (for example, the Communications Regulatory Authority for the information and communication sector). Some SOEs publish online corporate governance reports to encourage transparency, but there is no general framework for corporate governance across all Qatari SOEs. SOEs listed on the stock exchange must publish financial statements at least 15 days before annual general meetings in two local newspapers (in Arabic and English) and on their websites.

Several of Qatar’s SOEs compete for business internationally. For example, QatarEnergy is a competitive international energy investor, often operating in partnership with international energy giants. In the United States, QatarEnergy has a majority stake in the Golden Pass LNG terminal with ExxonMobil and in the Golden Triangle polymers plant in Texas with Chevron Phillips Chemical. In 2018, QatarEnergy made public its plans to expand into the U.S. energy market. Ooredoo Group is another international player with stakes in over 13 Middle East, North Africa, and Asia markets.

Privatization Program

There is no ongoing official privatization program for major SOEs.

There is a general awareness in Qatar of responsible business conduct. Many companies publicize their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, the majority of which cover environmental issues. The GoQ maintains a reporting regime for suspicious transactions and requirements for consumer due diligence and record-keeping. The MOCI has a dedicated Consumer Protection and Combating Commercial Fraud Department, which has intensified its efforts by monitoring records and inspection of stores and factories that sell or manufacture counterfeit goods. The ministry prosecutes business misconduct and announces these violations publicly.

Qatari law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, but business compliance with labor reforms is nonuniform. Workers alleging abuse can file complaints against their employers with the Ministry of Labor (MOL), though international organizations report that access to these systems can be slow and opaque. The MOL, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), and the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) may offer training sessions, at times, for migrant laborers and provide printed materials informing them of their rights while in Qatar. The governments of United States and Qatar have committed to sharing best practices on combating human trafficking. The law reserves two percent of jobs in government agencies and public institutions for persons with disabilities. The law also prohibits the employment of children under 16 years of age.

Researchers from international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch continue to visit and report on labor developments in the country with limited interference from authorities. International labor NGOs have been able to send researchers to Qatar under the sponsorship of academic institutions and quasi-governmental organizations such as the NHRC. Global media and human rights organizations continue to allege numerous abuses against foreign workers, including forced or compulsory labor, withheld wages, unsafe working conditions, and poor living accommodations.

Law 9/2022 regulates the right to obtain information. Drafted by the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, the law aims to achieve greater transparency and improve public access to data held by public institutions. Qatar participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as an economy dependent on extractive industries. Nonetheless, the Qatari government has not improved transparency regarding its petroleum industry management, as no regulatory body oversees resources extraction or revenue management. Private security companies cannot operate in Qatar without an appropriate license granted by the MOI, per Law 19/2009 on Regulating the Provision of Private Security Services, although Qatar is signatory to the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

In 2021, the GoQ launched its National Environment and Climate Change Strategy. National environmental goals included achieving 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, reaching net-zero emissions by 2060, conserving over 25 percent of the land, restoring marine biodiversity, reducing groundwater abstraction by 60 percent, promoting 100 percent use of recycled water, requiring 30 percent recycled material use in public infrastructure procurement, and increasing the rate of recycling of municipal waste to 15 percent and construction waste to 35 percent.

Sustainability has been a focus of Qatar’s National Development Strategy 2018-2022 and an important component of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar requires all projects in the industrial, agricultural, urban development, and infrastructural sectors to acquire environmental impact assessments from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, which was established in October 2021. Law 30/2002 is the primary legislation protecting the environment. It prohibits polluting equipment, machinery, and vehicles and restricts the dumping and treatment of liquid or solid wastes to certain designated areas. The law also limits emissions of harmful vapors, gases, and smoke by the energy sector. Despite these initiatives, Qatar suffers from ecological threats such as water insecurity, temperature anomalies, and air pollution.

Corruption in Qatar does not generally affect the conduct of business, although the power of personal connections plays a significant role in business culture. In 2021, Transparency International ranked Qatar as the second least corrupt country in the Middle East and North Africa and 31st out of 180 nations globally with a score of 63 out of 100, with 100 indicating full transparency.

Qatari law imposes criminal penalties to combat corruption and misuse of public money by public officials, and the government actively implements these laws. Law 22/2015 imposes hefty penalties for corrupt officials. Decree 6/2015 restructured the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, granting it juridical responsibility, a budget, and direct affiliation with the Amir’s office. The authority’s objectives are to prevent corruption and ensure that ministries and public employees operate with transparency. Transparency is also mandated when investigating alleged crimes against public property or finances perpetrated by public officials.

Law 11/2016 grants the State Audit Bureau more financial authority and independence, allowing it to publish parts of its findings (provided that confidential information is removed), a power it did not previously hold. Individuals convicted of embezzlement are subject to prison terms of no less than five and up to ten years. The penalty can be extended to a minimum term of seven and a maximum term of fifteen years if the perpetrator happens to be a public official in charge of collecting taxes or exercising fiduciary responsibilities over public funds. The Qatar State Security Bureau and the Office of the Public Prosecutor handle investigations of alleged corruption charges, while the Criminal Court makes final judgments.

Bribery is a crime in Qatar, and the law imposes penalties on public officials convicted of acting in return for monetary or personal gain and on other parties who take actions to influence or attempt to influence a public official through monetary or other means. The current Penal Code (Law 11/2004) governs corruption regulations and stipulates that individuals convicted of bribery may be sentenced up to ten years in prison with fines equal to the amount of the bribe but no less than $1,374.

To promote a fairer, more transparent, and more expeditious public-sector tendering process, the government issued Procurement Law 24/2015, which abolished the Central Tendering Committee and established in its stead a Procurement Department within the Ministry of Finance that has oversight over most government tenders. The new department has an online portal that consolidates all government tenders and provides relevant information to interested bidders, facilitating the process for foreign investors ( ).

Qatar ratified the UN Convention for Combating Corruption (through Amiri Decree 17/2007) and established a National Committee for Integrity and Transparency (through Amiri Decree 84/2007). The permanent committee is headed by the Chairman of the State Audit Bureau. The United Nations co-founded the Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law Center in Doha in 2013, to support, promote, and disseminate legal principles to fight corruption ( ).

Despite these efforts, some American businesses cite a lack of transparency in government procurement and customs as recurring issues when operating in the Qatari market. U.S. investors and Qatari nationals who happen to be agents of U.S. firms are also subject to the provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Resources to Report Corruption

The Administrative Control and Transparency Authority is responsible for receiving transparency-related complaints within the public sector:

Administrative Control and Transparency Authority
Al Bida St., Al Dafna, Doha, PO Box: 25558
974 44305220, +974 44305222, and +974 44069909 
To file complaints, visit: 

Qatar is a politically stable country with very low rates of crime. There are no political parties, labor unions, or organized domestic political opposition. The U.S government rates Qatar as a medium risk country for terrorism, including threats from transnational actors, and a low-risk country for crimes, political violence, or civil unrest.

The State Department encourages U.S. citizens in Qatar to stay in close contact with U.S. Embassy Doha for any up-to-date threat information. The Department invites U.S. visitors to Qatar to enroll in its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive further information on safety conditions in Qatar (

Qatar has one of the world’s highest migrant worker to citizen population ratios, with foreigners making up nearly 90 percent of the country’s population. Qatar’s resident population is estimated at 2.9 million as of February 2023, quadrupling over the past two decades. Qatari citizens are estimated to number approximately 300,000 – around 11 percent of the total population. Qatar’s labor force consists primarily of expatriate workers, the largest group of which comes from the Indian sub-continent. Males make up around 72 percent of the population. In 2022, about 61 percent of women aged 15 years and above were economically active, compared to 95 percent of men. However, local statistics may not fully account for all employed women as calculations as primarily based on residency statuses, which are family-based rather than employment-based for most migrant women.

Qatar’s unemployment rates are among the lowest globally, with a 0.1 percent unemployment rate for men and a 0.2 percent unemployment rate for women, as of 2022. In 2020, the cabinet approved a draft law mandating that Qataris make up 80% of human resource offices and at least 60 percent of overall employees in state-owned enterprises or companies where the government is a majority investor. The draft law is pending approval, but the principle is informally applied at most state-owned enterprises. Children of Qatari women are considered Qataris for purposes of calculating this localization ratio. Over three-quarters of employed Qatari citizens work for the government.

The Ministry of Labor (MOL) regulates the recruitment of expatriate labor. Labor Law 14/2004 largely governs employment in Qatar and allows the terminating party to terminate employment without providing reasons. The law requires employers to pay employees owed wages and other benefits in full, provided they have performed expected work duties during the notice period, which varies based on years of employment. The English common law governs companies registered with QFC, and labor issues are administered by QFC’s Regulation 10/2006. Local courts handle disputes between workers and employers, but the process is widely regarded as inefficient. To speed up the process of resolving labor disputes, the government established Labor Disputes Settlement Committees headed by a judge and representatives from MOL, addressing complaints within three weeks. In February 2023, the Cabinet approved draft amendments to improve the processes of the labor dispute settlement committees – the final Cabinet decision is pending publication.

There are no labor unions in Qatar. Non-citizens are not eligible to form worker committees or go on strike. However, according to an agreement between MOL and the International Labor Organization (ILO), joint worker committees including 50-50 representation of workers and employers exist in a small number of cases for all medium to large-sized companies. Law 12/2004 on Private Associations and Foundations and subsequent regulations grant Qatari citizens the right to form workers’ committees in private enterprises with more than 100 Qatari citizen workers. Qatari citizens employed in the private sector also have the right to participate in approved strikes. Still, the restrictive conditions imposed by the law make the likelihood of an approved strike remote. Regardless of nationality, individuals working in the public sector are prohibited from joining unions. Workers at labor camps occasionally go on strike over non-payment or delayed wages; however, this practice is technically illegal.

Law 17/2020 sets the minimum basic wage for workers and domestic workers at $275 per month and $220 for lodging and meals if not provided by the employer. To combat the problem of late and unpaid wages, the government issued Law 1/2015, amending specific provisions of Labor Law 14/2004 on wage protection and mandating electronic payment to all employees subject to the local labor law. The government requires all employers to open bank accounts for their employees and pay wages electronically through a system subject to audits by an inspection division at the MOL; this requirement, however, does not apply to domestic workers. Employers who fail to pay their workers face penalties up to $2,747 per case and possible prison sentences of a maximum of one year. Those penalties, however, are rarely implemented. The system currently applies to over 1.4 million workers.

Qatar is a member of the ILO and maintains its labor law meets ILO minimum requirements. In 2018, the ILO opened a Doha office to work alongside the government in implementing a 2017 agreement on combating labor violations. The Labor Law 14/2004 prohibits the employers’ withholding of workers’ passports and dictates penalties for transgressors. To eliminate forced labor, the government issued Law 19/2020, enabling employees to switch employers without requiring the employer’s permission. This legislation complemented Law 13/2018, allowing workers covered by the Labor Law to leave the country without requiring exit permits. To protect workers from fraudulent employment contracts, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) established the Qatar Visa Centers (QVCs) to simplify residency procedures for expatriate workers and to facilitate biometric enrollment, medical records verification, and work contracts before contracted workers enter Qatar.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) does not maintain a presence in Qatar and there is no existing investment guaranty or investment incentive agreement between Qatar and the United States. Qatar is a member of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International
Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2021 $179,642 2021 $179,677
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international
Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) NA NA 2021 $6,832 BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) NA NA NA NA BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP NA NA NA NA UNCTAD data available at

* Sources: Host Country GDP Data: Qatar Central Bank (

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $33,874 100% Total Outward $40,330 100%
Other North/South American Countries $10,952 32% European Union $13,709 34%
European Union $10,220 30% Gulf Cooperation Council $9,670 24%
United States of America $7,995 24% Other Arab Countries $5,632 14%
Asia (excluding Gulf Cooperation Council) $2,473 7% Other Asian Countries $3,214 8%
Other $2,335 7% Other $8,104 20%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Source: Latest data are for the year 2018, sourced form Qatar’s Planning and Statistics Authority (

Economic Specialist
U.S. Embassy, Doha
22nd February Street, Al Luqta District,
P.O. Box 2399, Doha, Qatar

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    8. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
      1. Additional Resources for Rights Holders
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Qatar
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