Business in Bahrain – background
Bahrain was a founding member of the World Trade Organization, and has been consistently ranked among the most economically free countries in the world in recent years – in 2015 it was ranked as 8th globally by the Fraser Institute.
Its liberal attitude to foreign investment has helped make it the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. Not surprisingly, many international companies have chosen Bahrain as their regional base. It’s also long been established as the principal financial and banking centre of the region.
Bahrain was the first country in the Gulf to exploit oil commercially in the 1930s, and it continues to play a major role in the country’s prosperity. However, the economy is both well developed and relatively diverse, with a good number of non-oil dependent industries.
Investing in Bahrain
Bahrain offers many advantages to foreign investors. These include:
• A well-developed infrastructure with excellent transport and communication facilities
• No personal or corporate taxation
• No VAT or other sales tax
• No restriction on capital and profit repatriation
• No exchange control
• Duty-free access to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states for products manufactured in Bahrain
All types of foreign investment are welcomed, with the exception of a few prohibited activities, mainly concerning alcohol, tobacco, waste products and firearms. Also, a few areas are reserved for Bahrainis, such as publishing, car rental, supply of oil and gas products.
To do business in Bahrain, you have to have a legal presence. For foreign companies, this could be a representative office, although it would not be able to do business directly with clients in Bahrain. Non-Bahrainis looking to establish a company in Bahrain must do so by forming a company, commonly a Bahraini limited liability company (WLL), although other types are possible. These involve the submission of various documents and certificates to the Ministry of Industry & Commerce. This is one of the many areas that PRIME can assist you with.
The Bahrain Investors Centre
To help streamline licensing and approval procedures, the Ministry of Industry & Commerce opened the Bahrain Investors Centre (BIC) in October 2004 for both local and foreign companies seeking to register in Bahrain. Representatives from all relevant ministries and private sector areas such as telecommunications, legal, banking, and consulting institutions are present at the BIC.
The BIC is located in one of Bahrain’s biggest malls, and is close to our main offices. In addition, PRIME has an affiliated office at the BIC and, with our help, it’s even easier to get started in doing business in Bahrain.
Doing business in Bahrain – find out more now
For more details of how we can help you or your company to operate successfully in Bahrain, please contact us.