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Arab-British Business Volume 35 Issue 1 Summer 2012 Monthly bulletin of the A-BCC

Welcome to the Chamber’s New Monthly E-Bulletin

Ramadan Mubarak

Emerging Markets Growing Economies Rising Opportunities


Saudi Law Forum: Saudi Justice Minister His Excellency Dr Muhammad bin Abdul-Kareem Al-Issa, Lord Falconer, former British Lord Chancellor and Baroness Symons, ABCC Chairman, at the Saudi Law Forum organised by the Chamber on 25 April.

Monthly bulletin of the A-BCC Editorial Team Abdeslam El-Idrissi Cliff Lawrence David Morgan Dr Yasmin Husein Arab-British Chamber of Commerce 43 Upper Grosvenor Street London W1K 2NJ Tel: +44 (0) 20 7235 4363 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7245 6688 (English Editorial) (Arabic Editorial)

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Morocco Ambassadorial Roundtable


New Chamber Members


A Guide to Winning Business in Libya


The Annual Chamber Dinner


Business & Project News


Opportunities in Saudi Arabia



Kuwait Market Briefing


Law Reports


Arabic Section




Business Events, Trade Fairs & Conferences


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Distinctive Publishing or Arab-British Chamber of Commerce cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. ISSN No: ISSN 0958-8116



New Opportunities in Morocco highlighted as Chamber Hosts Ambassadorial Business Roundtable On 11 June, the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce was pleased to host an Ambassadorial Roundtable focusing on the building of closer relations with the Kingdom of Morocco.

by UK law firms who had opened up offices in the country in 2011.

The high-level event, which was attended by a specially invited audience of leading British business executives and investors, was hosted by Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby, Secretary General & CEO of the A-BCC, who opened the proceedings, and chaired by Baroness Symons, the Chairman of the Chamber.

In the first of two presentations by Moroccan officials, Mr Saad Benabdellah, Managing Director, Maroc Export, addressed the theme, ‘Morocco – A Gateway to Your Growth?’

The guest of honour was Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, the Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Morocco to the Court of St James’s, who delivered a keynote address on the latest commercial developments and new business opportunities in her country within the context of its record of comprehensive reform. The Ambassador was accompanied by a delegation of senior officials from Morocco headed by Mr Adil Chikhi, Director, Moroccan Investment Development Agency (AMDI) and Mr Saad Benabdellah, Managing Director, Maroc Export, who both delivered presentations to the meeting. In her overview, Princess Lalla expressed the opinion that there was now a greater awareness among British and European investors of the potential that Morocco offered and this was a reflection of the progress made by the country over recent years. She argued, in addition, that the impact of the global economic crisis and the Arab Spring meant that the North African markets could no longer be overlooked. In today’s interdependent world, Europe now realised how closely intertwined its future was with Africa. She believed that the UK and Morocco had a shared optimism about their future relations. The Ambassador warmly thanked the Chamber for its initiatives in promoting UKMoroccan business links and paid a personal

tribute to the roles taken by Dr Afnan AlShuaiby and Baroness Symons. The Ambassador said the changes that Morocco had embarked on under the leadership of H M King Mohammed VI over the past decade was laying the foundations for positive developments for future generations and highlighted the key role of the business sector in this process. Morocco had confirmed its commitment to reform in the aftermath of the Arab Spring by adopting “landmark constitutional reforms” in June 2011, whose scope extended to enhanced powers for parliament, judicial reforms, accountability of officials and gender equality. Furthermore, international observers had hailed Morocco’s November 2011 elections as peaceful, transparent and a vindication of the country’s “evolutionary approach” to change. The Ambassador stressed that Morocco was keen to strengthen its economy and status as an emerging market with high growth. It was open for business, boosting its competitiveness and its efforts had been commended by the World Bank. Morocco had achieved growth of more than 4% in 2010-2011 which was exceptional within the region at this time. The country was benefitting from the numerous free trade agreements that it had signed with partners around the world. In particular, its advanced status with the European Union ensured that international standards would be applied. In conclusion, the Ambassador emphasised that Morocco offered real business opportunities to the UK in key sectors and she welcomed the confidence shown in the market

She informed the audience that Morocco was keen to do business with the UK as it saw Britain as a strategic partner and said that the embassy remained ready to help new UKMoroccan partnerships achieve success.

He said his talk was aimed at getting investors to think more about Morocco and its potential. Mr Benabdellah said that Africa was today seen as a continent of hope as it was now achieving average growth of between 3-6% which was in marked contrast to a decade ago. Morocco’s new business model meant that it was looking for new partnerships and that its reforms had made it an attractive proposition for investors. Its integration within Africa and the Maghreb and its free trade deals with countries around the world meant that it was a gateway to a market of one billion consumers. Reforms consisted of economic, social and political dimensions and success crucially depended on the public and private working together. The country had a vision of itself as a modern, open, free trading nation and had a strategy to achieve it. Its challenge was to overcome the perceptions of potential investors who still saw it as a “low cost” country, he said. He outlined the main elements of the strategy which covered every key aspect of the economy, such as the Green Morocco plan for agriculture, its industrial, energy and logistics plans. The fact that Renault, Airbus, Boeing and Tata were all established in the market indicated that Morocco was a modern, secure and competitive country.


In his presentation Mr Adil Chikhi, Director of Business Development, Moroccan Investment Development Agency (AMDI), stressed that the location was an important factor in its relations with the EU.

Sir Charles Masefield, Chairman, Helvetica, asked about the available incentives to attract investors. Adil Chikhi replied by outlining some of the tax exemptions and subsidies available to attract export oriented businesses in particular.

Another factor in Morocco’s favour was its stability, which made it exceptional within the MENA region.

Morocco offered attractive subsidies to help companies train employees and five year tax concessions and exemptions from duties for companies setting up in industrial zones. A handbook for investors was under preparation, Mr Chikhi said.

Morocco was attracting increased foreign investment after having put in place the right climate of the last ten years. Its successes in terms of reducing unemployment and achieving growth had been recognised by the Financial Times which had described Morocco as the “African country of the future” in 2011-2012. Factors contributing to this success included its investment in infrastructure which had seen a major upgrade with 14 international airports, tramways in Rabat and Casablanca, motorways, high-speed trains and the Tanger Med Port. He said that it was remarkable that these major projects had all been financed despite Morocco’s lack of oil revenues. The country had put regulations in place that aimed to make life easier for investors and special conditions applied in the 22 integrated industrial parks. Attendees at the roundtable included former government ministers, officials from think thanks and major sectors like financial services, law, education and film production and also included representatives from leading organisations such as the University College London, the Office of Tony Blair, Chatham House and Foster & Partners.

Other participants asked questions about what Morocco was doing to improve transparency and judicial processes. Her Highness the Ambassador stressed that Morocco’s reforms had been taking place over a long period and that it was continuously working to meet the aspirations of its population of young people. In response to Baroness Symons, who mentioned that the role of commercial courts and arbitration would likely be of prime concern to many Chamber members, Adil Chikhi said that Morocco was seeking to align its judicial procedures with international standards by the agreements it had concluded. The fact that Morocco operates an independent judicial system should reassure investors that their investments will be protected. He also said that an international arbitration centre had recently been established in Casablanca.

During the discussion, Lord Trefgarne, a Vice Chairman of the A-BCC, wanted to know about developments in the energy sector, in particular the progress taking place in offshore oil exploration. The meeting was informed that this exploration was an ongoing project that had shown positive signals so far. The Ambassador stressed the fact that Morocco did not possess oil and gas had made it work even harder to develop alternative energy sources; and major solar and wind power projects were currently under development. Lord West, a former British security minister, commended Morocco for its new constitution which he said confirmed its reputation for stability. He asked about the emerging opportunities for UK companies in education and training the workforce, to which the Ambassador responded by emphasising the great importance laid on education by Morocco. The English language was becoming more widely taught and used, making it the country’s third language, and this was strengthening the ties between the two countries.

Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, the Moroccan Ambassador, with Baroness Symons, ABCC Chairman, and Mr Saad Benabdellah, Managing Director, Maroc Export.

Morocco was unusual in the region in that it remained fully open for business throughout the summer months the Ambassador was keen to point out. Dr Claire Spencer, Head of the MENA Programme, Chatham House, highlighted the potential opportunities for partnership and investment in the cultural field where music, fashion and film were strengths of both Morocco and the UK. Mr Mark Foligno, Managing Director, Molifilms and the executive producer of the award-winning film The King’s Speech, spoke of the advantages of making films in Morocco. The country was increasingly in demand by Hollywood and other international film producers for location shooting and it had a long history of film making. Dr Anna Clark, Director of Corporate Partnerships, University College London (UCL), said that partnership between government, higher education and industry had proven effective in introducing innovation into business. This was a model that would be useful for Morocco as a thriving and enterprising country. In summing up, Baroness Symons and Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby indicated that the Chamber was planning to lead a trade mission to Morocco in the autumn this year and Baroness Symons looked forward to the establishment of an active Morocco-British Business Council.



New Members The A-BCC welcomes the following new members

Al-Khair Foundation 109-117 Cherry Orchard Road CROYDON Surrey CR0 6BE Tel: +44(0)20-8788 5370 Email: Website: Contact: Mr Richard Swift Programme Director Business Activity Al-Khair aims to improve the lives of people by empowering them to work together to fulfil their potential, enabling them to make positive contributions to their communities Al-Masader Al-Dualiyah for Environment and Quality Systems Co Emirates NBD Capital Building, 2nd Floor Prince Mohammed Bin AbdulAziz Steet, PO Box 300297, Olaya District Riyadh 11372 SAUDI ARABIA Tel: +966 1 462 2926 Fax: +966 1 465 3560 Email:; Website: Contact: Dr Peter Smith Partner Business Activity Saudi-British joint venture established by European and Middle Eastern partners with extensive government, business and trade experience. Successful business relationships between Europe and the Middle East created by providing unparalleled access to key decision makers in a confidential and ethical business environment Mr Charlie Allsopp Brambletye 28 Vann Road FERNHURST West Sussex GU27 3JN Email: Associate Member

EPGI Rosebery House 4 Farm Street LONDON W1J 5RD Tel: +44(0)20-8944 6756 Fax: +44(0)20-8944 6756 Email:; Website: Contact: Ms Amar Daghestani-Barrow Business Manager Middle East Projects Business Activity London headquartered, innovative, design-led real estate development company active in residential, commercial and retail sectors Euro Art Limited 56 Standard Road Park Royal LONDON NW10 6EU Tel: +44(0)20-8453 1017 Fax: +44(0)20-8961 2791 Email: Website: Contact: Mr Saad Sufi Export Manager Business Activity Importer, wholesaler of door handles and architectural ironmongery Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP 35 Vine Street LONDON EC3N 2AA Tel: +44(0)20-7861 4000/ Direct: +44(0)20-7861 4187 Fax: +44(0)20-7488 0084 Email: Website: Contact: Ms Margaret Davis Partner Business Activity: Law firm

Firetrap Limited One Western Avenue Business Park Mansfield Road LONDON W3 0BZ Tel: +44(0)20-8753 0052 Fax: +44(0)20-8753 0001 Email: Website: Contact: Ms Linda Lashley Customer Services Team Leader Business Activity Casual wear designers and wholesalers Hope Medical Enterprises 19 Ossulton Way Hampstead Garden Suburb LONDON N2 0DT Tel: +44(0)20-8455 9804 Fax: +44(0)20-8209 0831 Email: Website: Contact: Dr Nada Ismail Hakki Director Business Activity Non-governmental organisation, non-profit, helping to promote women & children in support counselling and lobbing Investment Trust Limited 5 Alford Street LONDON W1K 2AF Tel: +44(0)20-7495 6455 Fax: +44(0)20-7495 5053 Contact: Mr Faisal Kudsi Chairman & CEO Business Activity Providing investment and financial services to institutional and private clients in corporate finance, property investments and liquid investments Mak Power UK Limited Unit 16/17 Ashley Heath Industrial Estate Ringwood road Three Legged Cross DORSET BH21 6UZ Tel: +44(0)1202-820990 Email: Website: Contact: Mr Stephen Vine Director Business Activity The company provides innovative power based products that utilise the latest technologies for a reliable cost effective solution; specialist products include lithium and nickel cadmium batteries and chargers to uninterruptable power supplies and inverters; solar powered street lights, lithium battery powered (the first in the UK), to battery based mobile power units NJ Designs 88 South Ealing Road LONDON Ealing W5 4QB Tel: +44(0)20-8579 1096 Email: Website: Contact: Mrs Nada J-Sale Managing Director Business Activity: Architecture and interior design


Oakwood United Kingdom (Part of Oakwood Worldwide) 44-48 Paul Street LONDON EC2A 4LB Tel: +44(0)20-7749 4460 Fax: +44(0)20-7749 4470 Email: Website: Contact: Ms Emma Young Business Development Manager Business Activity As the global leader in serviced apartments for over 50 years, Oakwood offers a vast spectrum of housing solutions to meet the needs of business and leisure travellers worldwide RS Clare & Co Limited 8-14 Stanhope Street LIVERPOOL L8 5RQ Tel: +44(0)151-702 5268 Fax: +44(0)151-709 0518 Email: Website: Contact: Mr Muhammad Furqan Export & Logistics Co-ordinator Business Activity Manufacturer of lubricants for rail, oil & gas, automotive, steel, marine; surface coating and traffic safety products The Ritz London 150 Piccadilly LONDON W1J 9BR Tel: +44(0)20-7493 8181 Fax: +44(0)20-7493 2687 Email: Website: Contact: Mr Joe Perry International Sales Manager Business Activity: Hotel and hospitality Upstream Technical Consultants Limited Ravensbourne Business Centre Westerham Road KESTON Kent BR2 6HE Tel: +44(0)1689-868040 Fax: +44(0)1689-868041 Email: Website: Contact: Mr Richard Schembri Director Business Activity Recruitment Consultancy Gibbs S3 Ltd SBC House Restmor Way WALLINGTON Surrey SM6 7AH UK Tel: +44(0)20-8773 7650 Fax: +44(0)20-8773 7651 Email: Website: Contact Ms Farida Gibbs CEO Business Activity: Global staffing company for IT & business change, resource project solutions and consulting with expertise across financial services, investment banking, insurance, Oil & Gas, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

The Louvre Group: Journey to Global Expertise A timely combination of ultrafast communications, the dominance of the Internet and the new “global” investor mentality, have seen the world shrink dramatically in recent years. And the necessity of adapting business to fit these rapidly changing times has surprised many in the offshore financing sphere. To many companies unprepared, recent years have been spent frantically attempting to regain ground on competitors. Yet for some in the wealth management field, a traditional grounding, coupled with an eye for the future, has meant proper attention has always been paid to developing expertise in new fields such companies have flourished accordingly. Established in Guernsey 35 years ago, the Louvre Group is one such flourishing organisation now distinguished by its quality international wealth management solutions. It offers contemporary offshore and onshore services in confidence to private and corporate clients around the world. Throughout its history as a privately owned company, Louvre has maintained its focus on the changing requirements of clients and has expanded both its service expertise and the international jurisdictions in which it operates. Louvre was trained close to home, providing services for the British and European markets. Nowadays, the Group has comfortably adapted to the growth of the global economy and forged ahead by recognising the importance of multijurisdictional representation. Its offices are strategically located in key financial centres from the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dubai, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Switzerland and Guernsey to Hong Kong and, of course, London. All its international clients are guaranteed a superior service since the Group retains local specialists fluent in their jurisdiction’s language and often several others. These specialists are backed by the organisation’s wealth of global expertise. Louvre provides a thorough and comprehensive suite of modern wealth

management solutions, including the establishment of numerous different forms of corporate, trust and fiduciary structures. This is a natural evolution from the Group’s first, very traditional offshore trust and corporate services in the 1970s. Corporate structuring Louvre provides ranges from straightforward asset holding companies used for investments, intellectual property and luxury items like yachts, planes and cars, through to complex arrangements involving protected or incorporated cell companies and limited partnerships. The Group now also provides company management and formations in all jurisdictions and is proactive in taking companies to the AIM and CISX market. Louvre’s trust and fiduciary solutions range from family offices and private trust companies through to a diverse range of offshore trusts, foundations and purpose trusts, as well as flexible pension solutions for both British residents and expatriates. The Group also specialises in investment funds in numerous international jurisdictions. Louvre’s fund establishment and administration team provides an attentive, highly personalised and responsive service for fund managers and investors alike. Services include: listing, legal and regulatory coordination; choice of bankers, brokers and custodians; calculation of net asset values; shareholder liaison; financial statements and preparation; share registration and transfer agent; corporate secretarial services. To see how Louvre can help with your investments please visit its newly improved website:



Winning Business in Libya A panel of experts give their tips on what to look out for when pursuing business in the new Libya. A practical guide for UK companies was the subtitle of a one day conference in London on winning new business in the Libyan market. The event successfully highlighted the ongoing efforts to rebuild business with Libya and helped create new opportunities for British companies in the country. The international conference, which attracted hundreds of delegates seeking to do business with the new Libya, took place on 14 May at the Park Lane Hotel and was supported by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. It was organised by City & Financial Conferences with the support also of UK Trade & Investment, British Expertise and the Libyan British Business Council among other supporting organisations. The event provided an important occasion to address the key challenges to doing successful business in this emerging market and the new opportunities that were being created as Libya moves ahead with its reconstruction plans and opens up to foreign investors. It was generally felt by the contributors that the UK was very well placed to take advantage of the many emerging opportunities. The conference highlighted the massive developments in the areas of construction, design, planning, technology, communications, hospitals, schools and education, transport and infrastructure. Speakers pointed out that Libya was free from debt, was rich in oil resources and was seeking to set up a new administration to govern the country and establishing the infrastructure needed to provide basic utilities.

It has been estimated that Libya’s postconflict reconstruction programme will require spending of $200 billion over a tenyear period. In an opening address, Edward Oakden, Managing Director, Sectors Group, UKTI, to the delegates that 2013 would see Libya issuing major contracts and UK firms needed to stay the course to build lasting relationships. He said that the UK government was profoundly optimistic about the outlook. Mr Oakden described the timetable for the constitutional process in the country which would culminate in the election of a new government in 2013 once a new constitution had been drawn up by the provisional administration. Acknowledging the ongoing security concerns, he remarked that within the main cities the situation was improving, although UK official travel advice recommended only essential business visits at present. With regards to public contracts, Libya was seeking to put an emphasis on transparency and compliance in its business activities. While the aim was to honour existing contracts some eleven thousand signed with the old regime were under review and it would take time to decide on their status. Smaller contracts were now starting to come through, but larger ones would likely to be delayed until after the 2013 election. Immediate contracts for goods and services that are urgently needed were being offered to local contractors first of all, the UKTI official stressed.

The event opened with a message from His Excellency Dr Mahmoud Fetais, the Minister for Industry in Libya’s National Transitional Council, who outlined Libya’s strategy and its expectations for the rebuilding of the country.

The new Libyan government when it is elected would face pressure from the public to deliver on services and improvements, he said, which indicated that business opportunities would increase.

The interim minister called on British investors to look to his country for the many opportunities that were emerging.

Oakden identified the main sectors which offered the most opportunities:

Oil and Gas There was lots of work in upstream and downstream and where Libya was keen to do business with the UK.

Healthcare The UK government was currently talking to Libya about helping with urgent health needs and with medium term plans for health services around the country. In addition, opportunities were likely to emerge for specialist hospitals and primary healthcare.

Education There was a huge need for decent infrastructure and developing vocational education was very important.

ICT Libya was seeking to make rapid progress on new infrastructure in this sector.

Security Civil security and border controls were an enormous growth area.


Financial and Business Services UK expertise was well represented in Tripoli where there was a great need for professional advice.

Infrastructure The scale of what needs to be built and rebuilt in the country would take about a generation to complete but fortunately Libya has the resources to finance what is needed.

Political and Economic Situation Charles Gurdon, Managing Director, Menas Associates, who has 25 years experience of working in Libya, urged realism in understanding the market and expected it to remain difficult in the short term. Reconstruction would be hampered by the rise in localism with the power vacuum following the removal of Gadhafi. The country’s regions were now demanding a greater say in the running of the country following the collapse of centralised state authority. The East, for example, had been marginalised in the past and suffered underinvestment. The challenge for Libya’s new rulers was to ensure that regional demands for equal treatment were properly addressed. It needed to be understood, Mr Gurdon said, that Libya was currently in the process of rebuilding its state from scratch; there was a need for functioning ministries, a civil service staffed by trained personnel, even a police force and postal service needed to be created. Healthcare was an important need of the country; the fact that some 28 thousand Libyans needed to seek medical treatment overseas reflected the lack of adequate healthcare services within the country, he said. Libya was passing through a crucial period with the forthcoming elections that would decide its future but there was a case for cautious optimism, Gurdon concluded. Maryann Maguire, Director of InterCultures, offered a practical perspective on working in Libya and making sense of the emerging market. She addressed some of the outstanding risks including the status of existing contracts, fearing that it might be an uphill struggle to get them honoured. Ms Maguire felt that the start up of business was much slower than had been anticipated as it was taking some time for the new government to get established. New business networks would take time to develop with new people in charge after more than 40 years.

She explained that the bidding for forthcoming public contracts would take place under a competitive process. Any new contract worth over £1 million would have to be approved by the cabinet. Finally, she stressed the necessity of striking up personal contacts and adapting to the local culture when conducting business in the country. Dr Ranald Spiers, the Managing Director of the Middle East Association, outlined some of the immediate needs of Libya and the opportunities that were likely to be emerging. He pointed to electricity where improving supplies and fixing the network would be priorities for the new government. The shortage of water meant that there was a need to find new ways of bringing water supplies to the country. Expensive desalination was an option because Libya had the financial resources for it. A lot of housing had suffered damage during the conflict and needed to be reconstructed. Mega-projects were now on hold but were expected to be restarted in some form in the future, Dr Spiers thought. Robin Lamb, Director General of the Libyan British Business Council, shared his impressions of the country which he had visited in April. Mr Lamb said he was informed by the head of the Central Bank that Libya was expected to achieve pre-conflict levels of growth by the end of the year by which time spending was also expected to increase sharply. A key priority for any incoming government would be to create jobs because unemployment was presently running at some 33%. Once the new government assumes power it will have a mandate to take serious spending decisions, Mr Lamb said. One area of significant potential was the tourism sector, which had not received much investment in the past and as a consequence the country lacked trained personnel.

Trade Finance for Exporters Mr David Beeley, Global Trade Finance Group, ABC International Bank, addressed the important issues surrounding trade finance for exporters, including security of payment, guarantees and bonds and the broader financing possibilities in the new Libya. The standard method of payment was the letter of credit where the central bank had played a pivotal role. Banks in Libya remained largely state owned and came under the central bank.

There had been cooperation between Libya and international banks in relation to the few private sector projects in hotel and real estate construction. Banks were now operating normally, Mr Beeley said, but he expected the public sector to remain dominant although there were steps being taken towards decentralisation and branches should then get more autonomy. Risk mitigation was the main focus for the UK exporter using letters of credit.

Legal and Procurement Issues Mr Adrian Creed, Clyde & Co, spoke about legal and procurement issues, basing his observations on nine years’ experience of working on contracts in Libya. He cautioned that it was not an easy market but he was optimistic about the new Libya. He stressed that none of the laws had changed as the old laws would remain until they were formally repealed. Unfortunately, amending business law was not at the top of the list of priorities in the immediate period, he said. Libya was not a signatory to much international law so overseas judgments could not be enforced. The law that prevailed in the country was a combination of commercial, civil and criminal codes supplemented by “Gadhafi law”, Mr Creed explained. Outlining the status of contracts signed before the change of government, he said that an audit of contracts was currently taking place but the general rule was that contracts deemed to be tainted would not be honoured. However, those contracts that were already 70% completed would be allowed to conclude. New company regulations would be aimed at encouraging joint ventures, but the 65/35 percentage split in ownership would remain in force. In the freezones which were being constructed on the UAE model, it is likely that foreign companies might be able to own property. Mr Creed identified Islamic finance as a new growth business area where there may be excellent opportunities emerging. In the short term, the opportunities would be for experts and service providers; later opportunities will emerge for contractors and suppliers, he predicted. But on the whole, Libya’s new business environment was going to be more favourable to the UK. The majority of speakers agreed with the positive assessment of the market and the high attendance at this conference confirmed the keen interest among UK businesses in the new Libya.



Chamber Hosts Annual Dinner 2012 The Arab British Chamber of Commerce held its 2012 Annual Dinner on the evening of 2nd at the prestigious London Hilton, Park Lane.

Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby, Secretary General & CEO of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber was delighted with the high attendance at the event which was an indication of the wide level of respect for the organisation among the business community.

Secretary General & CEO of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, the Chairman of the ABCC.

The dinner was a celebration of the work of the Chamber and an opportunity to thank its members and business partners for all their support.

The Chamber was privileged to be joined by Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission, who was the special guest of honour and who delivered a keynote speech broad ranging in scope.

Attended by many distinguished guests and members of the Chamber, the evening was presided over by Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby,

The specially invited guests included many of the senior decision makers, ministers, diplomats and chief executives who work have closely with the Chamber over the past year. The event provided an opportunity for the Chamber to thank and acknowledge the invaluable support it has receives from strategic partners in both Britain and the Arab world.


H E Mr Abdulrahman Ghanem Almutaiwee, the UAE Ambassador, H E Mr Amar Abba, Algerian Ambassador, Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, H E Dr Samuel Moncada, Venezuelan Ambassador, H E Mr Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Hinai, Omani Ambassador, H E Mr Ivan Romero-Martinez, Honduran Ambassador and Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean.

Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby emphasised the Chamber’s deep appreciation to the Arab Ambassadors, for their ongoing support without which the Chamber would not be able to perform its duties and fulfil its functions.

She also spoke about the important role played by the Chamber in the strengthening of this enduring Anglo-Arab partnership.

importance of cooperation.

Baroness Symons said the Chamber was now in good shape and had ambitious plans for the future.

Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby said that the Chamber, as “a dynamic forward-looking organisation”, was determined to offer the best assistance to its members by ensuring that its services remained relevant to today’s business needs.

Dr Afnan stressed that the evening was also an opportunity to celebrate the dynamic and enduring partnership enjoyed by Britain and the Arab World which she described as a “mutually advantageous relationship”.

In an impressive keynote address Baroness Ashton reflected the perspective of the European Union countries on the main challenges facing the Middle East in the light of the “Arab Spring” and highlighted the

Each of the speakers struck the right balance between lightness of touch and reflections on the more serious issues and they were all very well received by the guests in what was a highly enjoyable occasion for everyone.



Exporters seek to help UK out of recession A new international trade survey shows that demand for UK products is fuelling export growth with over 70% of businesses boosting their export drive and posting increased turnovers across 2012. Regarded as an accurate and comprehensive barometer of the health of Britain’s export industry, the survey was produced by The Institute of Export (IOE) and Trade and Export Finance Ltd. 72% of respondents reported their exports as growing and expected to see increased turnover in 2012. Companies with turnovers above £1m reported the strongest growth; for 56% of respondents exports represented over 50% of their turnover. Meanwhile, 86% of companies stated that exporting was very important for their

Jordan’s new investment law to cup red tape Jordan’s Ministry of Industry and Trade is to present the Cabinet with a new version of the Investment Promotion Law to cut red tape and further facilitate investment in the Kingdom. Industry and Trade Minister Shabib Ammari told a press conference in Amman that the new law will ensure smooth registration and implementation of projects to benefit from the legislation. Special committees will be tasked with facilitating and following up on all foreign investments in the Kingdom, with the authority to solve problems and hurdles facing them on the spot. Jordan Times, 18/06/2012

business and looked at exporting as a long term strategy for their business. 71% of respondents stated that their exports would continue to grow over the next five years. Again it was companies with turnovers above £1m that showed the strongest commitment to growth, with 27% of importers reexporting their goods. Despite the global recession, the demand for UK products is driving the export growth with 62% of companies stating this is the main driver 53% of companies have an export strategy

and 44% of respondents see the potential to grow their business by increasing export. Note that companies are looking for short, medium and long term growth. The Middle East was among the top five markets for growth, along with Europe, China, India and North America. UKTI was the most contacted organisation for export advice, with more than one in two companies contacting the organisation. Chambers of Commerce and the internet closely followed. However, the internet and friends were rated as providing the best quality of advice. Business, Innovation & Skills and banks provide the poorest quality of information and support. Only 20% of respondents claim to have received support from UKTI, and it appears that companies with turnovers above £11m receive the most support. Less than one in ten companies with turnovers below £1m receive support, closely followed by the £1m - £5m turnover band. More information about the report’s findings can be found by contacting the Institute of Export:

Dubai sees 14% rise in trade licences The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai registered a 14 per cent increase in the number of trade licences issued last month compared to the same period last year, DED announced. With a total of 1,542 licences issued in May the tourism sector accounted for the highest increase in the number of licences with 57 per cent followed by professional ones with 19 per cent and commercial, 13 per cent. However, commercial licences which lead the list accounted for 73 per cent of the total followed by professional ones with 25 per cent while industrial and tourism accounted for 1 per cent each. The rise in the number of licences indicates a higher level of interest in commercial and professional activities among businessmen and investors in Dubai. The total number of commercial activities licensed in May 2012 was 4,042, with 174

in general trade leading followed by 141 licences for dyes and paints, 138 for tiling of floors and walls, 133 for carpentry and flooring, 132 for sanitary extensions and wares and 128 for installation of air conditioning systems, ventilation and air purification. The total number of business registration and licensing transactions reached 54,286, compared to 44,492 in May 2011, an increase of 22 per cent. Gulf News, 26/06/2012


Mideast: Chocolate sales rise Retail chocolate sales in the Middle East and North Africa will reach $5.8 billion (Dh21.3bn) in 2016, up 61 per cent from today, according to the global audit firm KPMG. “Although the global market is still dominated by Western Europe and North America, emerging markets clearly represent the future,” a KPMG report said. The UAE market is estimated to be worth about Dh546 million and growing at a rate of 27 per cent in terms of value of sales and 14 per cent in terms of volume, according to an AC Nielson report. In the third quarter of this year, Butlers Chocolates, a luxury Irish chocolate maker, is expected to open chocolate cafes across the UAE in a deal with Prime Hospitality. According to a recent report in the Hotelier Middle East, various trends are emerging as the consumer demand for chocolate grows across the region. One such is healthy chocolate where the health benefits of dark chocolate have long been established; it is a rich source of antioxidants and can help improve cardiovascular health.

Another growing trend is the use of chocolate at many large corporate and special functions where chocolate fountains and sculptures are increasingly being used as centrepieces to make a brand stand out. Despite the influx of global brands, there remains a strong niche market for local chocolate produce catering specifically for Arab tastes. The Middle East’s organic market is still developing, but local consumers are rapidly waking up to the benefits of organic tastes fuelled by the growing expatriate community who are more familiar with such brands. For more on chocolate in the Middle East see: http://www.hoteliermiddleeast. com/14336-top-10-chocolate-trends-inthe-middle-east/1/

UAE telecoms sector booming The UAE now has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world. It has over 1.8 million fixed line subscriptions and its fixed line penetration rate reached 31%, the Annual Sector Review published by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has found. It says that the number of active mobile subscriptions reached over 11.7 million by the end of 2011. The report summarises the state of the fixed, mobile, and data telecommunications services in the UAE in terms of: subscriber numbers, revenues, usage, and Quality of Service for the years 2008 to 2011. The report also outlines the contribution of the telecommunications sector to the UAE economy and some of the TRA's key achievements over the past two years. Its data shows a marked trend of customers subscribing to higher speed Internet services over time. For example, in 2008 no residential customers had Internet speeds of more than 4 Mbps but by the end of 2011, 47% of subscriptions were at these higher speeds. The report highlights the important contribution the telecommunications sector makes to the UAE's economy. In 2011, it contributed nearly 4.9% to GDP and provided employment to 10,798 people. Emirates News Agency, WAM, 13/06/2012

Algeria spends $720m to modernise tourism industry Algeria is keen to find viable economic sectors other than oil and natural gas. The country currently depends on this for nearly all its cash income - and is working to attract foreign visitors to its spas, thermal baths and to upgrade its hotel sector. The country has now set aside 56 billion dinars ($720 million) to modernise its hotels and thermal baths, the tourism minister said, as the country seeks to boost non-oil sectors. “Eight thermal baths will be modernised and renovated at a cost of 12 billion dinars,” Minister Smail Mimoune said on national radio.

“The remaining 44 billion dinars are for public hotels, which number 58.” The government is currently taking bids for the upgrades, the radio station reported. The minister said Algeria currently has 95,000 hotel beds which private-sector projects already under way aim to raise by 80,000. AFP, 21/06/2012

Oman’s budget surplus rises to $4.2bn Oman’s budget surplus rose to OR1.6bn ($4.2bn) in the first five months of the year as oil revenue soared, while inflation slowed sharply, data shows. The surplus is equivalent to about 5.7% of its 2011 nominal GDP, according to a Reuters calculation. Oman has raised its budget by 23% to 10 billion rials this year compared to its original projection for 2011. In January-May, revenue jumped 34% yearon-year to OR6.1bn, the data showed. Reuters, 12/07/2012



Robust growth projected for GCC Despite heightened regional risks, four out of six GCC countries are poised to witness robust economic growth this year in comparison to the previous year, revealed a study by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The latest International Monetary Fund data, combined with data from national authorities, indicated that the UAE will see a year on year GDP growth of 4.5 percent in 2012 while Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain will record a year on year growth of 4.9 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent in 2012 respectively. The study said that upward trajectory of oil prices should strengthen the fiscal and current account balances of GCC countries. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, larger fiscal surpluses and greater accumulation of reserves are projected. As such, for the GCC as a whole, IMF projects that fiscal and current account surpluses will stand at 13.1

percent and 22.2 percent of GDP in 2012 respectively. The study further states that regional growth is supported by its ongoing expansionary fiscal policies. This is the reason why Saudi Arabia, according to its 2012 budget, is expected to raise spending by an additional 2.4 percent this year on top of a 23 percent increase last year, while Qatar and Kuwait are also expected to increase spending in their 2012-2013 budgets. Higher allocations to current public spending, notably on wages such as those recently announced in the UAE and Kuwait, will boost domestic demand and non-hydrocarbon growth.

Middle East to supply 25% of EU gas market by 2030 The International Energy Agency estimated in their recent Golden Rules of Gas report that European Union gas demand could increase by 18 percent in the next twenty years if government policy is favourable to gas and gas remains competitively priced. That is more than the current gas demand of Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait combined. However, this outcome is by no means certain. Greater gas demand is expected to be driven by the decision of EU member states to reduce their reliance on nuclear and coalfired power for environmental reasons and hence the need to rely more on gas-fired power generation to replace this output. If governments succeed with their renewables and efficiency policies, or reverse their anti-coal and anti-nuclear stances then gas demand may not grow, or may even decline in the coming decades in Europe. “The European gas market presents a huge opportunity for the Gulf region to grow and

diversify its export revenues in the long run. Yet the Middle East is not the only region of the world endowed with large gas resources and regional players and governments must work hard to build the regulatory conditions, diplomatic support and corporate relationships necessary for the contracts and investments in infrastructure to secure gas flows to Europe” said Badr Jafar, President of Crescent Petroleum. Currently, the EU relies on imports for 63 percent of its gas needs, the balance made up by indigenous production. About 7 percent of EU gas supplies come from the Middle East, overwhelmingly LNG from Qatar. SG, 19/06/2012

In fact, non-hydrocarbon growth reached a record high in Saudi Arabia in 2011 increasing by 7.8 percent year on year, while it is projected to remain at high levels in 2012 with 5.3 percent year on year increase. Similar trends are projected to take place in Kuwait and Oman, where fiscal spending has been on the rise. In UAE, the upward trajectory of the non-hydrocarbon sector remains elevated in 2012 as projected to increase by 3.9 percent year on year from 3.3 percent in 2011 and 2.1 percent in 2010. The study reveals that the main driver behind the Dubai’s economic prosperity is the strategy of generating new business opportunities through diversification. Together, logistics, trade, tourism, and transportation accounted for almost 60 percent of Dubai's GDP in 2011. The sectors have recorded substantial growth backed by the significant increase in passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport in 2010 and 2011. The study highlights the need for policymakers to further enhance diversification in UAE, which will help boost economic growth and prosperity, while enhancing the competitiveness and productivity levels of the economy. Arab News, 24/06/2012

Qatar plans to invest $130 billion in non-oil Qatar plans to invest about $130 billion in its non-hydrocarbon sector in 2012-2018, the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP) said. Infrastructure spending should average more than 10 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product in coming years, the GSDP also said in a statement. Meanwhile, economic growth is expected to slow to 4.5 per cent in 2013 from a projected 6.2 per cent this year, and the country sees large risks in the global economy, particularly in the euro zone, the GSDP added. The authority also predicted inflation would hover between 2 and 3 per cent in 2012 and 2013. Reuters, 25/06/2012


Saudi stock market ‘ready for foreign investors’

Bahrain growth set to improve

Amid sound fundamentals - strong economy and robust banking system - the Saudi Capital Market Authority is expected to allow foreign institutional investors to invest in Saudi stock market directly.

Bahrain's economy remained resilient during the global financial crisis in 2008 and has posted positive real GDP growth throughout this period.

Al Rajhi Capital, in its latest research on Tadawul, said that “there are apparent benefits of foreign investors investing in a stock market as generally they bring in liquidity, efficiency, transparency and practice of better portfolio management. “These benefits (though) are not guaranteed and depend on how market evolves in medium to long term. “Moreover, entry of foreign investors in stock market is believed to cause higher volatility due to flow of hot money and can potentially create an issue of liquidity management for the central bank,” it noted. Although the number of companies listed on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange is 152, the market capitalization is significantly high. Market is liquid and most of stocks are traded daily. “Long-term market strength

comes from robust economic fundamentals. Moreover, the stock market is backed by technology driven strong banking system,” the report said. The largest in the MENA region, Tadawul is comparable to many emerging markets. Volume and value traded are also comparable to many emerging markets when measured as percent of market capitalization of the stock market. The accrual of benefits of allowing foreign investors, outweighs the concerns in medium to long term, it pointed out. “Therefore, we believe that Saudi Arabian equity market is ready for foreign investors. However, it should be done in a calibrated manner so that the advent of large investors does not destabilize existing stakeholders,” Al Rajhi Capital said. Saudi Gazette, 26/06/2012

IMF welcomes Sudan’s reforms but highlights challenges

Barring any unexpected developments, the country is anticipated to grow at an improved pace in 2012, according to the International Islamic Rating Agency (IIRA). The IIRA has assigned Bahrain with a rating of A- on both the foreign and local currency scales and has also assigned a short-term rating of A-2 on both. On a national scale, the IIRA has assessed Bahrain's ratings at AAA/A-1. The IIRA is the leading credit rating agency for the Islamic financial services industry. Gulf Daily News, 20/06/2012

Dubai non-oil trade up 6.6% Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade has seen a significant growth of 6.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting the resilience and diversity of the UAE economy.

Sudan’s reform efforts have been welcomed by the International Monetary Fund after its team visited the country over the period 13-25 May.

The statistics released by Dubai Customs showed that the emirate’s non-oil foreign trade amounted to over Dh298.1 billion in the first three months 2012, compared to Dh279.7 billion over the same period in 2011.

The mission’s preliminary assessment, issued after meetings with Sudanese ministers, was that economic conditions in Sudan deteriorated in 2011.

Ahmed Butti Ahmed, the executive chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said the data released included non-oil direct trade, free zone trade and customs warehouses.

Economic growth is estimated to have slowed down to 2.7%, end-year inflation reached 19%, the overall fiscal deficit was about 4% of GDP, and the current account registered a surplus of 2% of GDP. Preliminary information for 2012 indicates that economic conditions have not improved, the IMF said. “The mission and the authorities agree that the challenges confronting Sudan

are daunting and require appropriate reforms to stabilize the economy. More work is needed to improve prospects for inclusive growth and job creation,” an IMF spokesman stated. The IMF team held consultations with several leading ministers as well as representatives of the private sector. The IMF welcomed Sudan’s reform efforts and thanked the authorities for their cooperation and constructive dialogue. IMF, 29/05/2012

“The growth is widely attributed to the implementation of several economic, tourism and construction projects, which also includes the development of modern infrastructure like customs facilities at ports and airports and the provision of more advanced services,” he said. Khaleej Times, 26/06/2012



Saudi Arabia set for strong economic growth Saudi Arabia’s formidable mineral resources will form the platform for a period of strong economic growth in 2012-16. According to a recent report from the Samba Financial Group, real GDP growth will average 5 percent in 2012-16, with the rate of real non-oil growth also averaging 5 percent. Inflationary pressures should remain manageable, with a good deal of domestic demand satisfied through imports. Rents will remain a source of price pressure, but efforts to expand the housing stock should help to soften this over the course of the next five years, and inflation should stabilise at around 5.5 percent per annum. The report said public spending would remain the engine of economic growth. Overall hydrocarbon earnings are expected to stabilise at around $285 billion. Add in nonoil revenues and total government revenue is expected to hold at around $300 billion a year during the period 2012-16. With very little debt to service or pay down the main call on government revenue is wages and salaries, which tends to absorb 25-40 percent. The public sector is still the “employer of first resort” for most Saudi citizens. Thus the strong population growth rate and a brisk rate of inflation (5 percent plus) means that spending on wages and salaries will likely increase by around 6.5 percent a year during the forecast period. Spending on supplies and services should increase at a similar rate, while subsidy spending-which encompasses domestic fuels and certain foodstuffs-will grow at a brisk pace given the rate of domestic consumption of fuel. Overall current spending is therefore likely to grow at an annual average rate of around 3.5 percent.

Despite increasing recurrent spending demands there remains room to sustain large capital spending while still keeping the fiscal accounts in surplus through 2016. Capital spending will form the basis of opportunities for private business. These in turn will be guided by the country’s Ninth Development Plan (NDP), which is worth $385 billion (some 67 percent higher than the previous plan) and runs from 2010-14. The NDP, which is prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP), is a general framework for capital spending, and actual capital spending (in terms of the amounts and direction) may well differ from the plan as circumstances change. The MEP has traditionally played a low key role in economic policy and development, but following the appointment of the former SAMA governor, Muhammad Al-Jasser, as Minister in December 2011, it is expected to take a more vigorous and proactive approach.

Education The biggest single spending allocation is to education or human resources. This fits with the demographic challenge outlined and is aimed at improving all levels of education, with the overall goal of making school leavers and graduates more likely to secure jobs in the private sector, although it is notable that its share of spending between the two plans declined. Health is another major area of spending. Its share of spending was increased in recognition of the Kingdom’s pressing health issues, stemming largely from population growth and the increasing prevalence of “lifestyle” diseases, the Samba report said. Economic resources, which are dominated by utilities, see their allocations more than doubled and their share of spending rise sharply. This reflects the pressing need to provide enough power and water for a country where demand is increasing by around 8-10 percent a year. Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) says it is committed to spending $60 billion over the next ten years.

Transport also sees a near doubling of its allocation. Road building continues apace, and will remain a cornerstone of transport policy in the Kingdom, however, rail and ports are also moving up the agenda. Municipal and Housing services has often been overlooked, but this is likely to become more important over the next five years. First, urbanisation is putting significant pressure on municipal services. Second, housing has taken on much greater importance recently. As such, more than the $26.8 billion committed will likely be allocated as the government bids to expand affordable housing. Both housing and municipal services offer good scope for private participation. Comparing the Eighth and Ninth plans provides some shifts of emphasis. It appears that certain regions of the country have lagged the overall development progress witnessed in the traditional commercial heartlands of Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province. Jazan Economic City and Prince Abdul-Aziz Bin Mousaed Economic City in Hail represent attempts to steer more investment to underdeveloped areas of the country.


Fostering a “knowledge based economy” is given greater prominence in the NDP than in the eighth development plan. This is an important element of hydrocarbons-based economies that have successfully diversified again. Specifically, the government wants to promote “strategic alliances between private national companies and technically advanced international companies” in order to foster technology transfer. In addition, the authorities are prepared to use “soft loans” to encourage the use of modern technologies, especially in the export sector, while simultaneously discouraging the use of unskilled foreign labour. The authorities are especially keen to make a stronger link between education and business by establishing research and development centres that can serve the needs of business. The NDP provides grants for strategic research centres to the tune of $240 million a year, and also speaks of providing an annual $80 million to government agencies and $53 million to private sector firms.


A further broad priority is the effort to diversify the economy. This has been a maxim of all five-year plans, but in the preamble to the NDP it is put firmly in the context of “maximizing the return on competitive advantages”. Saudi Arabia’s comparative advantage of course lies in hydrocarbons (it has at least 90 years’ worth of oil reserves) and it makes sense to exploit this by creating greater value-added.

Petrochemicals Oil refining generates value-added in its own right and also opens the door to a variety of industrial products-and jobs-through the petrochemicals product chain, the Samba report said. The key to this is the use of naphtha, from which can be derived a much larger variety of “building blocks” than ethane, which has been the feedstock of choice for the Kingdom’s producers, but which is in short supply. A vertically integrated approach is also being adopted in the aluminium sector where there are plans to harness the country’s bauxite reserves by constructing what will become the world’s largest aluminium complex at Ras Al-Khair.

The $10.8 billion project, which is a joint venture between Maaden and Alcoa, is designed to attract a large number of conversion industries to cluster around the site. The report said authorities are also looking to boost the non-oil export sector more broadly in a bid to enhance diversity, reduce vulnerability to external shocks and create a platform for more sustainable and predicable growth. Evidence suggests that economies based on a single commodity will become effectively diversified only when they successfully create a robust quantity and variety of exports and worldwide purchasers for them. The Saudi authorities have identified a group of second-tier non-oil exports that have shown growth rates of between 8 percent and 25 percent during 2004-07. The government believes that these industries are ripe for additional help in terms of offering information on demand in export markets, organising export promotions, providing competitor information, technical specifications and packaging requirements of key markets.

ICT is an important adjunct of the effort to deepen and widen the knowledge-based economy, and has strong potential growth prospects. The Ministry of Economy expects demand for fixed line services to increase by 4.4 percent a year, while demand for mobile services is expected to climb by 5.6 percent a year, with the penetration rate reaching about 194 percent by 2014. Broadband demand is forecast to grow even more briskly, by about 10 percent, with the number of subscribers climbing from 2 million to 3.25 million by 2014 (total penetration will reach 11.4 percent, while residential coverage will reach 47.4 percent). The Saudi government wants to narrow the “digital divide” between the regions. To do this, it has established the Universal Service Fund, which aims to provide full coverage in areas where the market does not provide ICT services. Saudi Arabia also plans to extend broadband networks to all schools, universities, hospitals, government agencies and civil society institutions. Beyond this, it wants to expand “e-government” services and envisages a “shared role” for the private sector in this. Despite the prominence given to ICT and the knowledge economy more generally, financial allocations to ICT under the 9th Plan amount to a comparatively meagre $239 million, with a far larger amount of $2.3 billion given over to developing the Saudi postal service. This presumably reflects the advanced liberalisation of the ICT sector and the large role envisaged for the private sector, both domestic and foreign, the Samba report said.



Kuwait market potential An insight into the latest business developments in Kuwait Kuwait has a population estimated at 3.6 million, although almost 70% of these are non-nationals. GDP per capita is estimated at around $55,000 and Kuwait ranks 47th in the UNDP Human Development Index. Crude oil and gas production account for about half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 84% of government revenue. Kuwait’s oil reserves are estimated at 8% of global reserves, among the largest in the world, and its oil fields are projected by the Government to remain productive for at least 70 years at or around current production levels. Kuwait is ranked 18th in global natural gas reserves. Under its Vision 2035 and the Kuwait Development Plan 2010-14, it aims to promote a more diversified private-sector led economy with world-class infrastructure attracting business and investment. Kuwait aims to be a regional financial and services centre while maintaining its social identity and advancing human development. The economy is highly dependent on international trade: the ratio of merchandise

and services trade (exports and imports) to GDP averaged 86.6% during 2007-09. In 2010, Kuwait ranked 29th among world merchandise exporters and 45th among importers (considering the countries of the EU together and excluding intra-EU trade). In services trade, Kuwait ranked 38th among exporters and 32nd among importers. Manufactured goods make up the bulk - around 80% - of Kuwait’s merchandise imports, with the composition of imports reflecting the high per capita income and comprising in particular automotive products, machinery, office machines and telecommunication equipment, and inputs for the construction industry. Kuwait imports practically all of its food and other agricultural needs, which account for around 16.5% of the value of merchandise imports. Under the Foreign Investment Law, foreign investors have been allowed to own up to 100% of business since 2001. Nonetheless, obtaining approval has reportedly been a

lengthy procedure. In addition, the law does not apply to certain economic activities and foreign portfolio investment through the Kuwait Stock Exchange may not exceed 49% in any listed company. Action is being taken to attract more FDI and a privatisation law passed in mid-May 2010 sets out a process of transferring ownership to the private sector (through build-operatetransfer (BOT) schemes) by identifying suitable partners from home and abroad and issuing shares through initial public offerings, while maintaining a public share ownership (in principle 24%) through the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). The Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has said that the Government is taking important steps to improve the business environment and has welcomed the new laws on privatisation and BOT. Goods imported are subject only to customs tariffs, since Kuwait does not impose VAT, excise duties or any other internal tax or charge on either domestically produced or imported products. Kuwait started applying the GCC common external tariff in 2003. Kuwait applies the GCC common laws on customs procedures and valuation. It requires documents to be authenticated, and charges consular fees on commercial invoices, certificates of origin, health and halal meat certificates, and manifests for all imports. A “general” import licence is required for all imports from all sources, and special permission from competent authorities is required for specific goods. Kuwait prohibits certain imports for security, health,


a golf course, housing units, a marine park, four marinas, and entertainment facilities in an environment-friendly atmosphere. Client: Partnership Technical Bureau.

Opera House Estimated value: T.B.A. Details: The project is to design and build a high-end opera house with a capacity of 2000 seats. Client: Ministry of Public Works.

Airport Hotel Details: The project is to design and build a new airport, hotel inside the airport area. Client: Partnership Technical Bureau.

Grand Zoo Details: The project is to build a zoo with a ‘safari’ type of design (1.400.000 m2). Client: Partnership Technical Bureau.

Boubiyan Development Project safety, or religious reasons, or to meet the requirements of international conventions. Export procedures are simple, and any natural persons or companies (including foreign) may export in Kuwait. Some goods are prohibited from exportation, while other are restricted and require a licence from the competent authority. Kuwait applies no export taxes, charges or levies. In 2010, government procurement accounted for about 12% of GDP. Kuwait’s procurement regime allows for a price preference of 10% for local products and 5% for GCC products. Persons who wish to submit tenders must be either Kuwaiti suppliers, or foreign suppliers with a Kuwaiti partner or agent. An offset programme requires foreign firms that win government contracts above certain thresholds to make an investment that will add value to the Kuwaiti economy. The law now allows foreign investment in the electricity and water sectors through publicprivate partnership whereby independent water and power projects (IWPP) will be established. Under the IWPPs, private companies may generate electricity and water and sell to the Ministry, which will then be sold to consumers. Foreign investors are allowed up to 26% ownership of these projects. The service sector is the largest non-oil component of the economy, accounting for about half of GDP and over 80% of total employment. The sector remains dominated by several state-owned enterprises, and in some activities, for example fixed-line telephony, there are state monopolies.

Kuwait has however opened some services subsectors to foreign investors, including financial services, air transport, mobile telephone services and professional services. Kuwait is a net importer of agricultural products, and food security is mainly promoted through relatively low applied Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs (3.2%), while private companies are being encouraged to invest in farm projects abroad. Kuwait is pursuing a Development Plan for the years 2010-2014 which involves the participation of the private sector, mainly through BOT schemes, and has a projected public expenditure of $108-130 billion (KD3137bn). New projects offering opportunities for contractors, suppliers, design innovators, architects and building consultancies:

Silk City – Madinat Al Hareer Estimated value: 20M KD ($77bn). Duration of the project: 2012-2023. Details: To be located at the northern edge of Kuwait, near the Iraqi border, on its completion in 2030, the city will house a population of 700,000 and is likely to provide 450,000 employment opportunities when completed in 2030. It will be a major new business hub spanning 250 km². Client: Kuwait Ministry of Public Work. Project website:

Failaka Island Development Estimated value: 120M KD. Details: A worldclass tourist resort with 20 hotels, chalets,

Estimated value: 120M KD. Details: Development of nature reserves, major sea port, tourist resorts, hotels and a residential area along the coastline. Client: Partnership Technical Bureau.

National Rail Network and Metro Estimated value: 750 M KD. Details: The Kuwait Metropolitan Rapid Transit calls for construction of a 171 Km Kuwait Metro. The Metro will be built across the inner city of Kuwait and will include 4 lines. Client: Ministry of Public Work.

Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Bridge Details: the Jaber Al-Ahmad expressway will link the new Silk City and the satellite cities to be built in the northern area of Kuwait city. The Ministry of Public Work has qualified eight groups, each comprising three to four contractors.

Kuwait International Airport Expansion Estimated value: 150M KD. Details: The project calls for design and construction of infrastructure work for the Kuwait International Airport, including approach roads leading to the airport, runway and aircraft hangars. Contractor: Alghanim International General Trading and Contracting Company. Sources: Report on Kuwait published by the WTO Secretariat, 2012; Kuwait Five Year Plan Briefing



New Arbitration Law in Saudi Arabia – a major development for commerce in the Kingdom By Abdulaziz Al-Bosaily and Ben Cowling, Clyde & Co The new Arbitration Law – approved on 16 April 2012 – is a significant step forward in the development in the law in the Kingdom and has wide-ranging implications for businesses (both local and international) trading in the domestic market. In particular, the new Law removes many of the negative aspects of the previous Arbitration Law such that businesses can have much greater confidence in arbitration as an effective means of dispute resolution. For various reasons, dispute resolution under commercial contracts in Saudi Arabia is perceived as being difficult. Businesses have three options when drafting dispute resolution clauses in their commercial contracts: l Refer disputes to the local courts

(including the Board of Grievances);

l Refer disputes to domestic arbitration

(previously under the 1983 Arbitration Law, now to be subject to the new Arbitration Law); or l If the transaction has particular features, refer disputes to international arbitration (now also to be subject to the new Arbitration Law if the parties elect). The best option for each business depends upon the circumstances of the relevant transaction. That said, prior to the new Arbitration Law, domestic arbitration was not often chosen due to particular difficulties arising under the 1983 Arbitration Law. To best explain the impact of the new Law, it is useful to summarise the key features of the 1983 Arbitration Law: l Parties were at liberty to refer disputes

to arbitration, including prior to particular disputes arising. That said, Government bodies were not permitted to refer disputes to arbitration without specific permission. l Arbitrators were required to be experienced and of good conduct and reputation and full legal capacity (which under the implementing regulations for the 1983 Law meant that arbitrators had t o be male and of the Islamic faith).

l When disputes arose, parties had to file

the arbitration agreement with the court or other body originally competent to hear the dispute. This court or other body would then supervise the conduct of the arbitration, including appointing the arbitral tribunal where the parties failed to agree the identity of the arbitrator(s) and hearing applications to replace an arbitrator. l Arbitral awards were required to be issued within 90 days, unless another period for determination had been agreed by the parties in the arbitration agreement or the supervising court or the arbitral tribunal itself extended the time for the award to be issued. Upon the relevant period of time expiring, either party was entitled to commence a separate proceeding in the supervising court, thereby avoiding the effect of the arbitration agreement. l Upon the arbitral award being issued, it needed to be ratified by the supervising court to be enforceable. Before ratifying any arbitral award, the supervising court would hear any objection raised by any party and also ascertain that there was nothing in the award that prevented its enforcement under Shari’ah law. There was no prohibition on the supervising court re-considering the merits of the dispute in the course of the enforcement process, which meant that there was a significant risk that the court would impose its own decision on the dispute notwithstanding the decision of the arbitral tribunal. The new Arbitration Law entirely replaces the 1983 Arbitration Law. The law will come into effect 30 days after it has been published in the Official Gazette, which has not happened yet. Areas of substantive change between the old and the new Laws include the following: The new Law makes clear that invalidity or termination of a contract does not render an arbitration agreement invalid as long as the arbitration agreement is independently valid. While this legal principle is common in many other jurisdictions, it had not been

codified in the law of Saudi Arabia previously. The new Law also clarifies that parties may agree to refer matters to arbitration by incorporating standard form conditions into their agreements (e.g. FIDIC contracts) and by referring to the rules issued by arbitration institutions from time to time (e.g. ICC). In addition to the existing requirements for arbitrators set out in the 1983 Law, the new Law requires that sole arbitrators or chairmen of panels of multiple arbitrators be holders of at least a university degree in Shari’ah science. The new Law sets out a helpful procedure for the selection of arbitrators where parties cannot agree the constitution of the arbitral tribunal. In particular, where there are multiple arbitrators, the new Law provides that each party nominate an arbitrator and that the two selected arbitrators can then choose the third arbitrator (failing which the court will appoint the third arbitrator). This procedure overcomes a common obstacle, which would otherwise require the intervention of the supervising court. Arbitrators have a positive obligation to keep parties informed of circumstances that may give rise to conflicts of interest. The new Law sets out a defined process for challenges to the arbitral tribunal to be made (e.g. due to bias or conflict of interest), including time limits for complaining parties to lodge objections in the relevant court. This removes the ability of parties to object to the enforcement of arbitral awards on the basis of such grounds when they have not been raised previously within the time limit. The new Law allows the arbitral tribunal to ask a relevant authority for help in the arbitration process, such as summoning a witness or expert and ordering the production of documents. This is a significant change, given that arbitral tribunals do not themselves have the power to make orders against parties outside of the arbitration agreement. Where the parties have not agreed that particular arbitration rules apply (e.g. ICC), the new Law sets out a detailed arbitration procedure that applies by default. Such procedure includes many features familiar to users of international rules of arbitration (such as pleadings, witness statements, expert reports and hearings).


Under the new Law, arbitration need not be conducted in the Arabic language, if the parties or the arbitral tribunal have decided to use other languages. In addition, the arbitral tribunal is bound to apply the substantive law chosen by the parties in the relevant contract (even when the choice of law is not Saudi Arabian law). The arbitral award must be issued within 12 months from the date that arbitration was commenced, subject to the arbitral tribunal’s power to extend this by a further 6 months and the parties’ ability to agree longer extensions. This gives the arbitral tribunal a much more realistic timeframe to decide major commercial disputes than under the 1983 Law. Upon the arbitral award being issued, any party seeking to invalidate the award must issue such an application within 60 days. As such, the onus is on the aggrieved party to raise any objection within a defined time

frame, rather than waiting until the successful party seeks to enforce the award. Upon issuing such an application within the 60-day period, the parties have limited grounds upon which they can argue that the award should be invalidated. In addition, arguments that the award violates Shari’ah law, public order or the arbitration agreement may only be heard if the relevant court raises such issues on its own initiative. The new Law provides that the relevant court may not examine the subject matter and facts of the dispute in considering whether the award should be invalidated. This is a major improvement from the 1983 Law, which gave the courts a broad discretion to revisit the merits of the dispute in the course of the enforcement process and undermined the arbitration process. Subject to the invalidation process, arbitral awards made under the new Law acquire the force of res judicata and become enforceable. That said, in order for the award to be enforced

Two new DIFC laws enacted The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the independent regulator of all financial and ancillary services conducted through the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), announced that His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has enacted two new DIFC Laws. These Laws are the Markets Law 2012 and the Regulatory Law Amendment Law 2012, which are both administered by the DFSA. The new Markets Law 2012, which replaces the Markets Law 2004, brings about a number of changes including to prospectus disclosure, what activities constitute an offer, market misconduct provisions and corporate governance. The prospectus disclosure changes include the requirement for a prospectus to be formally approved by the DFSA before it can be used to make an offer of securities to the

public, or to have the securities referred to in the prospectus admitted to the official list of securities maintained by the DFSA. The new laws are designed to promote investor protection in a manner that better aligns the DIFC to international standards, particularly European Union (EU) requirements and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The amendments to the Regulatory Law 2004 support the changes brought about by the new Markets Law regime, for example, the law now provides for the DFSA to undertake regulatory oversight of auditors of DIFC incorporated companies listed on an Authorised Market Institution (AMI) or any other exchange. The amendments also make changes to the recognition powers of the DFSA with respect to cross-border trading including

in practice, the successful party must seek an enforcement order from the courts. In considering whether to issue an enforcement order, the court will verify that the award does not contradict a previous judgment, that it does not contain any part (which part may be severed from other parts) that violates the provisions of Shari’ah law and public order, and that it has been served on the other party. In summary, the new Arbitration Law sets out a sophisticated regime that parties to commercial contracts can rely on to effectively govern the resolution of their disputes. While the 1983 Arbitration was supportive of arbitration in the Kingdom, it lacked sufficient detail to give commercial parties confidence in the process and also gave rise to significant practical risks. Accordingly, the new Law constitutes a significant step forward in the development in the law of the Kingdom. Clyde & Co, 15/05/2012

recognition of alternative trading systems, the quasi exchanges which are developing an increasingly important role in trading of financial instruments on the international capital markets. The changes permit non-DIFC exchanges and clearing houses meeting certain regulatory standards to provide access to their facilities to persons located in the DIFC and permit non-DIFC firms meeting certain regulatory requirements trade investment products on a DIFC exchange from a place of business outside the DIFC. “These changes bring our markets regime into closer alignment with the EU requirements while retaining features necessary to accommodate regional needs and circumstances,” said Ian Johnston, Chief Executive Officer of the DFSA. The new Markets Law 2012 and the Regulatory Law Amendment Law 2012 were enacted on June 7, 2012, and come into force on July 5, 2012. Gulf News, 21/06/2012










Iraq National ID Card Project

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior, Directorate of Contracts, has announced an open international solicitation for executing the National ID Card Project which includes building a unified database, establishing a national record digital system of the civil status information for citizens, residents and newcomers in the country; issuing of civil card with unified civil number for citizens in addition to digitalising civil status records, archiving them electronically. Project also includes supplying devices, equipment and software for executing and operating the system in the main Database Centre in Baghdad and in civil status offices in the provinces; in addition, conducting training courses for Iraqi staff who will be responsible for operating the system and maintaining its components after one year of the project’s completion. Bidding documents can be obtained from the following website: HYPERLINK “” Closing Date: September 2012

Other Iraqi Tenders The latest tenders and contracts from various ministries in Iraq are published on the website of the Iraq Commercial Office in London and can be accessed here: php?id=61

OMAN Seawater Pumping Station 11 & Return System for Sohar Industrial Port Area Tender No: 64/2012 Document Cost: OR3000 Contact Oman Tender Board PO Box 787/133 Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman Tel: + (968) 24602652; Fax: + (968) 24602063 Email:

Deadline: 06/08/2012

Supply of Carbon Steel Pipes for Ad-Duqum Pipeline Tender No: 63/2012 Document Cost: OR175 Contact Oman Tender Board PO Box 787/133 Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman Tel: + (968) 24602652; Fax: + (968) 24602063 Email: Deadline: 06/08/2012

Design & Build In-Flight Catering Facilities at Muscat International Airport (MC 13) Tender No: 59/2012 Document Cost: OR3000 Contact Oman Tender Board PO Box 787/133 Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman Tel: + (968) 24602652; Fax: + (968) 24602063 Email: Deadline: 25/06/2012

Supply, Installation, Commissioning and End-User Training of Replacement Medical Equipment for Burns, Accident & Emergency Unit at Khoula Hospital Tender No: 62/2012 Document Cost: OR175 Contact Oman Tender Board PO Box 787/133 Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman Tel: + (968) 24602652; Fax: + (968) 24602063 Email: Deadline: 16/07/2012


Supply of Surgical Items for Ministry Of Health Tender No: 61/2012 Document Cost: OR175 Contact Oman Tender Board PO Box 787/133 Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman Tel: + (968) 24602652; Fax: + (968) 24602063 Email: Deadline: 09/07/2012

Feed for upgrade of propane truck ldng system in ngl plant Tender No: LT12108500 Document Cost: QR45000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 22/07/2012 Stocking & supply of wellhead & subsea dump flooder equipment for offshore well on call-off basis Tender No: GTC/GT12MT0026 Document Cost: QR470000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 22/07/2012


Repair & refurbishment of wharves & jetties at mesaieed port Tender No: GT12109100 Document Cost: QR1100000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “”

Call-off contract for ups maintenance & repair at various qp locations Tender No: GT12109300 Document Cost: QR130000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 22/07/2012

Deadline: 22/07/2012

Charter of aht and straight supply vessels for offshore operations Tender No: GT12109200 Document Cost: QR2500000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Demolition, disp & remediation works within ngl plant & burnpit areas Tender No: GT12109400 Document Cost: QR150000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 22/07/2012 Psa oil fields development review Tender No: GT12109000 Document Cost: QR936000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 22/07/2012

Deadline: 29/07/2012

Stocking & supply of cotton wiping rags on calloff basis Tender No: STC/ST12MT0179 Bid Bond: QR6000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 02/07/2012 Stocking & supply of anti oxidant additive for fcc gasoline extraction and sweetening unit at the refinery on call-off basis Tender No: STC/ST12MT0193 Bid Bond: QR25000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 02/07/2012



Supply of potable water to ras laffan area, qp gas ops on call-off for5 years Tender No: ST12104600 Bid Bond: QR10000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 02/07/2012

Replacement of instrument cables at jaleha degassing station withindukhan field Tender No: ST12104300 Bid Bond: QR15000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 02/07/2012

Stocking & supply of hp computer peripherals on call-off basis Tender No: LTC/LT12MT0046 Bid Bond: QR12000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 08/07/2012

O & M of waste management facilities at rlc Tender No: GT12108200 Bid Bond: QR1000000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 08/07/2012

Epic for upgrade of control systems of liebherr cranes at nfa Tender No: GT12108000 Bid Bond: QR215000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 08/07/2012

Ecm programme works (enterprise development) phase-1 bid Tender No: GT12107600 Bond: QR150000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 15/07/2012

Epic for wellhead scada and cathodic protection in dukhan Tender No: GT12108400 Bid Bond: QR8200000 Contact Qatar Petroleum PO Box 3212, Doha, Qatar Tel: (974) 4440 2000; Fax: (974) 4483 1125 HYPERLINK “” www.

Deadline: 22/07/2012

SAUDI ARABIA Supply, Installation, Testing, and Commissioning for Central Control System for Water and Irrigation Management at MYAS Tender No: 3103 Contact Director, Supply management Department, PO Box 30031, Madinat Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah, Fax: (04) 321-6092; Tel: (04) 321-6021 Deadline: 10/07/2012

UAE Supply of Motor Vehicles and Vehicular Equipment Tender No: 2131200043 Document Cost: AED1000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email:

Deadline: 25/06/2012 Sale of Gas Turbine Power Generation Units at DEWA “C” Station Tender No: 4120000015 Document Cost: AED1000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email:

Deadline: 01/07/2012 Engineering Consultancy Services for Drinking Water Bottling Facility Tender No: 2131200063 Document Cost: AED2000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email:

Deadline: 02/07/2012 Supply of Materials for Maintenance - Water Tender No: 2051200051 Document Cost: AED500 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email: Deadline: 04/07/2012

Supply of FGRP Kiosks Tender No: 2051200052 Document Cost: AED1000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email: Deadline: 04/07/2012 Supply, installation, testing & commissioning of


Tender No: 2131200061 Document Cost: AED5000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email:

Deadline: 18/07/2012 Replacement, Refurbishment & Repair of Fire Water Tank at various 400KV & 132KV DEWA Substations Tender No: 2121200031 Document Cost: AED500 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email:

Deadline: 19/07/2012 Construction of Lussaily Reservoir Phases 1 & 2 (120MIG) Tender No: 2131200062 Document Cost: AED2000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email:

Deadline: 23/07/2012 NDRC Works - Supply, Installation, Testing & Commissioning of GRE Transmission Pipelines to Protect / Divert under existing services and associated works at various locations (59 Locations) in the Emirate of Dubai Tender No: 2131200047 Document Cost: AED1000 Contact Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Office of the Contracts Manager, Zabeel East, PO Box 564, Dubai Tel: (9714) 3244444 Fax: (9714) 3248111 Email: Deadline: 25/07/2012


Real estate market in Lebanon Lebanon’s real estate market activity has been witnessing a slow down, with the ongoing domestic political stalemate and regional tensions weighing on buyer sentiment, according to a new report from Beirut’s Bank Audi. The total value of real estate sales transactions contracted by a moderate 6.7% in the year 2011, and only seems to be picking up slowly, posting a 4.0% upward movement year-on-year in the first four months of 2012. This follows a 32% annual growth in the previous five years characterized by a real estate boom in the country.

Residential market seeing net contraction in foreign demand The residential segment of the Lebanese realty market has definitely been feeling the pinch of regional and local developments since early 2011 and remains constrained by high price levels that have rendered properties out of reach for a large section of the resident population. Still, the market remains supported by demand stemming from Lebanese nationals, which account for more than 90% of total residential demand. Foreigners, especially Arab Gulf nationals, have practically been out of the market for the past couple of years.

Relatively stable retail and office market demand The retail segment has benefited from steady demand over the past year, ensuring relatively stable annual rents on the overall in Beirut. Demand for retail spots was mainly boosted by the defensive food and beverage industry. Beirut’s office landscape was characterized by stagnant demand over the past year, more or less sufficiently met by the existing supply, with rental rates mostly constant on the overall.

Supply side adjusting to changing market dynamics The supply side has been witnessing an increase in vacancy rates in new buildings and

started slowing down construction activity. The total area of new construction permits, reflecting both current and prospective construction plans, dropped by 7.0% year-onyear in 2011 and by a further 2.7% year-todate in 2012, following a 19.3% growth per annum in the 2006-2010 period. Construction costs have also decelerated this year, after moderate single-digit growth in 2010 and 2011.

Prices on the flat side Realty prices have remained rather stable over the past year and a half despite adverse investment conditions. The evolution of property prices in Lebanon has long been known to take the form of a staircase: prices go up after a period of stability in an upward adjustment period, and then stabilize again until the market digests new price dynamics, before going up again. The reasons behind this comparatively atypical evolution are the end-user non-speculative demand type, the quasi-absence of leverage and the relative scarcity of land plots.

Growing bank funding but persistently low household and institutional leverage While the market has been increasingly resorting to bank financing over the past years to fund construction projects on one hand and property acquisition on the other hand, leverage is believed to be still relatively low at both the individual and institutional levels. Household leverage is tied to bank housing loans which saw the light only few years ago to account today for circa US$6 billion, the equivalent of 4% of bank assets. Institutional leverage is tied to bank loans to construction and which reached US$7.1 billion today, the equivalent of 16.2% of total loans, a share that mirrors that of the sector in GDP formation (15.2%).

Standstill situation expected to last In a scenario of increased regional and domestic uncertainties, no significant

downward price correction should be anticipated, as there is no significant speculative component in the market, in addition to the absence of financial pressures on developers. Likewise, in a situation of improved overall regional and domestic conditions, no significant upward trend should be anticipated as there is a persistently growing stock of unsold property that weighs on a market that is no more in an undervaluation status. This time, the era of flat property prices seems set to stay for a while. For further information see: HYPERLINK “ Pages/default.aspx” Pages/default.aspx

Office rents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Lease rates in Dubai central business district remained unchanged in the first three months of the year and were stable for several quarters, a report from building consultancy CBRE has said. Central areas should benefit from the shortage of new deliveries while continued development in secondary and tertiary locations could negatively impact occupancy rates and rental values in these areas. In Abu Dhabi, prospects of increased competition due to the sustained pace of new deliveries have caused landlords to lower rents and raise incentives. More favourable terms should, in turn, stimulate more transactions after a relatively quiet first quarter. For the full report see: http://www. show_report?report_id=1808



Trade Fairs, Conferences and Exhibitions KSA Employment Law Seminar Organised by Clyde & Co’s Middle East Employment and Incentives Team 18 September 2012 Dubai, UAE Contact Sara Khoja Clyde & Co HYPERLINK “” www.

Libya Investment and Infrastructure Summit 2-3 October Tripoli, Libya Contact Claudio Cassuto Director General EU-Libya Chamber of Commerce Tel: + 44 776 557 3873 Email: Website: HYPERLINK “http://www.eulibyacc. org”

Saudi Agriculture 31st International Agriculture, Water and AgroIndustry Show 24-27 September 2012 Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Centre Contact Riyadh Exhibitions Company (REC) PO Box 56010 Riyadh 11554 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Tel: +966 1 229 5604 Email: Website:

GITEX Technology Week 138,000+ ICT Professionals from 144 countries; 3,500+ ICT companies from 77 countries 14-18 October 2012 Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, UAE Contact Ackash Jain Conference Director Tel: +971.4.3086034 Fax: +971.4.3188607 Email: Website:

Paper Arabia 5th International Exhibition for Paper, Tissue, Converting and Allied Industries 1-3 October 2012 Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, UAE Contact PO Box 11183 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 3406888 Email: Website: HYPERLINK “http://www.paperarabia. com” Telecoms World Middle East 1-4 October 2012 Atlantis, The Palm Dubai, UAE Contact Terrapinn Middle East P O Box 502685 Dubai Media City Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4440 2500 Fax: +971 4445 8475 Email: HYPERLINK “” Website: HYPERLINK “http://www.terrapinn. com”

Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2012 Sustainable Energy Growth: People, Responsibility and Innovation 11-14 November 2012 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE Contact ADIPEC Dmg energy group PO Box 94879 Abu Dhabi UAE Tel: +971 2 444 4909 Fax: +971 2 444 4383 Email: Website: HYPERLINK “” Climate Change: Security, Resilience and Diplomacy 15-16 October 2012 Chatham House, London Contact Conference Unit Chatham House 10 St James’s Square London, SW1Y 4LE Tel: +44 (0) 20 7957 5729 Email: HYPERLINK “mailto:conferences@” conferences@ Website:

Shale Gas Environmental Summit 29-30 October 2012 Central London, UK Contact Andrew Gibbons Tel: +44 (0) 20 7827 6156 Email HYPERLINK “http://www.smi-online.” www.smi-online. Oil and Gas Cyber Security 14-15 November 2012 Copthorne Tara Hotel, London, UK Contact Alex Williamson Tel: +44 (0) 20 7827 6115 Email: Lebanon Motor Show 15-25 November Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center, Down Town, Beirut, Lebanon Contact Event Manager Promofair SAL Accaoui, Media Center II Building, PO Box 165972, Achrafie Beirut, Lebanon Tel: +961-1-561600 Website: HYPERLINK “http://www.”

Forthcoming ABCC Events Oman Ambassadorial Business Roundtable September Date TBC] November Opportunities in Egypt November Date TBC For further information see:

The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce

Partner for Business in the UK and the Arab World The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce has been committed to the encouragement of Arab-British trade and economic cooperation since 1975. Under the leadership of the Secretary-General and CEO, Dr Afnan AlShuaiby, together with its experienced staff, the ABCC is ready to assist both Arab and British businesses in making the most of the new opportunities that are constantly emerging from the multibillion dollar trading relationship that exists between the UK and the Arab world. 

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_________________________________________________________________ For additional information on how to become a member contact: Dr Lamya Al-Imara: T: 020 7659 4865 | E: Arab-British Chamber of Commerce 43 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1K 2NJ | T: +44(0)20-7235 4363 | F: +44(0)20-7245 6688 | W:

Arab Economic Focus Newsletter  
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Arab Economic Focus Newsletter