Doing Business In Bahrain

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How to do Business in the Kingdom of Bahrain

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What Companies Should Consider When Doing Business

The commercial laws and legal system are under constant review to ensure that they are consistent with international standards. The Kingdom of Bahrain permits 100% foreign ownership of businesses. Companies operating in Bahrain are expected to follow the international accounting standards and are encouraged to pursue good corporate governance.

 

Market Entry and Start Up Considerations

Your first port of call in setting up a business/office in Bahrain, would be a visit to the Bahrain Investor's Centre which is a vital part of the Ministry of Commerce. The One Stop Shop "Bahrain Investor's Centre" has been established to facilitate the setting up of business in Bahrain through a seamless process. They are here to facilitate the entire process, from the submission of the initial application to the commencement of business. The back office will guide you to relevant external entities such as the Ministry of Labour & Ministry of Interior, who will be able to provide advice on requirements for residency for expatriates. - www.moic.gov.bh


Gateways/Locations - Key Areas for Business

The Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) is a new, quality, 247 Hectare Business Park developed in Bahrain by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The Park is situated in a superb location with excellent connectivity and access. Bahrain International Airport and the new Shaikh Khalifa Port in Hidd are both just 5 minutes away by road. The BIIP also enjoys direct motorway access to Saudi Arabia, which is only 20 minutes away via the 25km Saudi-Bahrain Causeway. In the future, it will also share direct motorway access with Qatar, once the scheduled Qatar Bahrain Causeway is completed.

The BIIP is designed to attract export oriented, local and global companies with high value-added projects that will contribute to creating quality local employment in a world class physical environment. www.biip.com.bh

Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) provides the vital means for your investments by setting all essential details allowing you to enhance your productivity and maximising profitability. BIW is ideally suited for various sectors, which may include: Light industries, including warehousing and logistics, medium industries, business centres, commercial and residential facilities. www.bahiw.com

The Khalifa Bin Salman Port is considered to be one of the most important and advanced ports in the Gulf region. It is also one of the most vital infrastructure projects that aims to enhance various economic sectors, particularly the commercial, industrial and investment sectors in the Kingdom. The port will also help promote Bahrain's strategic location as both a regional and international, as well as commercial and financial hub. The Khalifa bin Salman Port occupies an area of 110 hectares of reclaimed land and is located on the north-east of the Kingdom of Bahrain, only 13 kilometers away from Bahrain International Airport and it is also linked to the road leading to the King Fahad Causeway. The port provides sea freight, shipping and logistic services in accordance to the highest international specifications and standards in the industry.

Website of the General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP) www.gop.bh

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The Bahrain Logistics Zone

Based at the heart of the Gulf, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Zone offers logistics organisations an unbeatable location for providing services to the growing economies of the Gulf region.

As a boutique logistics area, it is dedicated to value-adding activities, catering for companies engaged in a variety of intensive logistics activities.

It offers its tenants a range of services to match the requirements of modern logistics organisations, from streamlined customs processes to on-site company registration and visa application.

The Bahrain Logistics Zone is owned and operated by the General Organisation of Sea Ports, Bahrain. www.bahrainlogisticszone.com

The Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) is a fully integrated USD $3 billion master-planned development. It is creating a complete financial city, a self contained community and reinforcing Bahrain's unique position as the financial capital of the Middle East. A first of its kind development in the region, BFH is a highly focused, committed and advanced financial environment spread over 380,000 square metres of prime seafront property in the centre of Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Furthermore, it comprises 10 projects that distinctively combine business, leisure and residential components under one canopy. Phase I of the project 'The Financial Centre' which includes the Harbour Towers - Bahrain's tallest towers and the Harbour Mall. The Financial Centre is operational and open for business. www.bfharbour.com

 

Documentation

Current requirements to live and work in Bahrain

Anyone wishing to live and legally work in Bahrain will need to apply for the following visas and permits:

Work Visa - issued by Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) www.lmra.bh

Residency Permit - issued by General Department for Nationality & Passport Residence www.gdnpr.gov.bh

CPR Card (Identification Card) - issued by Central Informatics Organisation. www.cio.gov.bh Employers are advised to arrange and process necessary documents to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) prior to the arrival of their employees and dependents.

Customs and Regulations

Goods imported into the country are subject to the customs taxes "duties" specified in the customs tariff and the other applicable fees, excluding those exempted under the provisions of this regulation law or under the Unified Economic Agreement of the GCC Arab states, or any other international agreement within the framework of the Council. The duty rate of the customs tariff shall be either ad Valorem (percentage of the value of goods) or specific (an amount levied on each unit of the goods), or both.

Customs duties are usually 5% for imported goods, with the exception for alcohol (125%) and tobacco (100%). Numerous food and medical items are entirely exempt from customs duty as well as goods for re-export, capital goods and raw materials for manufacturing imports required for development projects.


Legislation and Local Regulations

The commercial laws and legal system are under constant review to ensure that they are consistent with international standards. Companies operating in Bahrain are expected to follow the international accounting standards and are encouraged to pursue good corporate governance. Bahrain has a zero-tolerance policy for money laundering and enforces best-practice, international standards of intellectual property, labour and environment protection.

Currency and Taxation

  • There are no Exchange Controls on the movement of monies

  • Bahrain's currency is the Bahrain Dinar (BD), which is pegged to the US Dollar.

  • Bahrain has the lowest corporate and personal taxes in the GCC with:

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    - No capital gains tax and no withholding tax

    - No personal income tax

    - No tax on capital gains

    - No withholding tax

    - No restriction on repatriation of capital, profits or dividends

    - Few indirect taxes (e.g. 10% municipal tax on rents)


Responding to Tenders

The Tender Board is a fully independent body, established by a Royal Decree on 7 January 2003, with a clear agenda to set up a strict regulatory mechanism that would ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all.

The Tender Board aims to protect public funds and prevent the undue influence of personal interests on tender formalities, achieve maximum levels of economic efficiency in purchasing activities at competitive and fair prices, encourage integrity, competitiveness, fair treatment and equal opportunity to all contractors and suppliers and finally, to achieve total transparency in all aspects of purchasing procedures by the Government.

The Tender Board's achievements over the past three years have earned it a reputation for transparency, integrity, fairness, competitiveness and equal opportunity. This has undoubtedly played a major role in boosting investors' confidence in the nation's economy and enhancing the prestigious status of the Kingdom of Bahrain, both regionally and internationally. www.tenderboard.gov.bh

 

Recruiting and Retaining Staff

Bahrain's business sector is supported by the most productive, highly-skilled bilingual national work force in the GCC (approximately 72% of the financial services workforce are Bahraini). Bahrain has an advanced education system, which continues to improve. Bahrain's government has introduced education reforms that will continue to improve education and skills in line with the requirements of the private sector, adopting best practice from some of the world's most successful educational models. The government of Bahrain realises that highly skilled and highly specialised positions require appropriately qualified individuals to fill them. This is why Bahraini businesses have the opportunity to choose between the local work force or hire foreign specialists for these positions.

 

Labelling and Packaging Regulations

According to Bahraini regulations, all labelling must be in Arabic or Arabic/English. Stickers are not accepted as adequate labelling.

Food labels must include:

  • product and brand names

  • production & expiry dates

  • country of origin

  • name of manufacturer

  • net weight (metric units)

  • list of ingredients & additives in descending order of importance.

 


Getting Your Goods to the Market

For the clearance of imported goods and commodities, the importers should complete the customs declaration and present it, together with other required documents, to the customs gateway concerned so that the customs clearance procedures can begin. www.bahraincustoms.gov.bh

Mina Salman Port is currently the main port of Bahrain for General Cargo and Containers. This port can handle dry cargoes (conventional and containers) with an average annual volume of 2.5 million tonnes. Mina Salman Port was opened in 1962, since that time the Government has made determined efforts to modernise and improve the efficiency and capacity of Mina Salman. The port comprises 15 berths, two of them are container berths and the rest are conventional cargo berths which can accommodate different sizes of ships with different draughts, varying between 5.5 to 10 metres. A small Ro-Ro ramp is available for vessels up to 15 metres wide.

The Khalifa Bin Salman Port and its adjacent Industrial Area, are located towards the North Eastern extremity of Bahrain, 5 kms from the Bahrain International Airport. This project is a part of an extensive development program of more than 800 hectares of land. This new facility will ensure an excellent level of services to the shipping lines and support Bahrain's industrial growth.

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Standards and Technical Regulation

The Ministry of Industry & Commerce, in particular as the main organ of Government responsible for the registration and supervision of businesses in Bahrain, perceives its role as providing value added services to its customers in the form of enhanced information and business processes.

The Ministry of Industry & Commerce is responsible for a diverse range of activities which make up the commercial environment in Bahrain, including inter alia, the registration of all forms of commercial business, commercial agencies, industrial property, standards and metrology, foreign trade as well as a number of other related activities. In general the Ministry's aim is to ensure the maintenance of an open, transparent and market driven commercial environment, so as to develop Bahrain's economic competitiveness and to encourage inward investment, at the same time promoting employment for the local population. www.moic.gov.bh


Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property is dealt with by the Industrial Property Directorate in the Ministry of Industry & Commerce. Industrial Property legislation was issued in 1955 for patents, design & trade marks through the Industrial Property office. The Industrial Property Office is considered to be one of the oldest IP offices in the Gulf and it has gained a good international reputation.

 

Source - UKTI

 

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