Huffington Post Arabi hires  Spanish firm Del Canto Chambers

The Huffington Post has recently launched its Arabic edition. The launch is the result of nearly two years of negotiations managed by the firm DelCantoChambers in London, which has solved the complexities of launching an media such as the Huffington Post simultaneously in 20 Arab countries with different legislation.

Commenting on the launch, the lawyer Leon Fernando Del Canto, company founder of Del Canto Chambers says: “We have been privileged to see how this project was born and advise on it form the begining. Working with Wadah Khanfar and Arianna Huffington is a lesson in optimism on the future of journalism. ”

The giant media created by Arianna Huffington already has local editions in eight countries, including Spain, where it is published in collaboration with media group PRISA. The new edition marks the opening of the first media of this nature in the Arab world, which makes “independent and original journalism” and will be a platform for new generations of bloggers in the Middle East.

In the words of Leon Fernando Del Canto, “the Huffington Post in Arabic will give voice to many young people with a mobile phone and something important to say. Young people who nobody has heard yet.”

The new platform, entirely in Arabic and directed from London, adds to the French version of the Huffington Post that targets the North African countries.

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Qatar Weighs Value-Added Tax Proposal

Qatar is taking a closer look at the possibility of introducing value-added tax (VAT) along with other GCC states, suggests a key planning document.

The idea is to take up the long-term challenge of broadening the revenue base and reduce the non-hydrocarbon deficit (which is the overall surplus excluding hydrocarbon revenues).

Backed by a large increase in hydrocarbon revenues, Qatar is expected to post huge surpluses in 2011 as well as this year, raising the share of hydrocarbon income in the total state revenue. Continue Reading

International Monetary Fund Report – Qatar Selected Issues

Qatar Selected Issues

This Selected Issues Paper on Qatar was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund

as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country. It is based on

the information available at the time it was completed on January 17, 2012. The views expressed in

this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government

of Qatar or the Executive Board of the IMF.

The policy of publication of staff reports and other documents by the IMF allows for the deletion of

market-sensitive information.

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Qatar 2nd Easiest Country to Pay Tax Globally

Qatar’s “straight forward” tax system has been recognised worldwide with the country securing the position of “2nd easiest country to pay tax globally” in an annual report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers, World Bank and IFC.

The report titled “Paying Taxes 2012” cited the Middle East has “fewer and less complex” tax laws in the world. Now in its sixth edition, the report compared tax systems across some 183 countries from a business perspective, revealing that all six Gulf Co-operation Council states fare well within the top 15 countries within the ranking. Continue Reading

Private Equity Opportunities in the Gulf Region

Since opening our offices in Qatar we cannot but share the momentum that the region poses for Private Equity.

As reported by the CFH Group, the Private Equity in the MENA region can be summarized as follows:

A. Market / Motivation:

1. Interest from International Players: Many international groups are considering the GCC for potential investments owing to:

– Loss of momentum in other parts of the world (like the EU).

– Relatively robust economies of the GCC.

– Generous budgets as a result of oil revenues.

– A high growth potential in relatively underserved markets. Continue Reading

Qatar has (33) Agreements for the Avoidance of Double Taxation

With the openness of the world economy, the development of commercial exchange between countries and the increase of the volume of cross-border transactions, the State of Qatar has been seeking to enable the persons and companies carrying on activities in Qatar to deal with the tax burden resulting form imposing tax on the investor’s income in double way in the State where he lives ( the State of residence ) and the State where he carries on his activity (the State of source) by way of concluding agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with other countries.

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Sharia as applicable law in Western Courts

Islamic Finance is the fastest growing industry in the financial panorama. The contractual arrangements are based in the Sharia, or Islamic Law. What would be the applicable law in a dispute between parties in an English or Spanish law jurisdiction where the parties submitted to the Sharia law?

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Qatar Tax Policy

As part of a delegation of the Bar Council, I just returned from Qatar and was very pleased with the visit. We saw an energetic and enthusiastic country with a great vision. After doing my research and visiting the country, it is clear to me that Qatar has done the homework to become a recognized international player.

Qatar has a wide network of double taxation conventions with 40 jurisdictions, including many OECD and G20 countries as well as important regional partners. These DTCs generally include the old wording of article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. Qatar’s DTCs with France, UK and Singapore contain the current version of article 26. These agreements apply equally to Qatar generally as well as to the QFC.

Qatar is focusing on further developing businesses and investments that will allow the country to continue being competitive beyond their current dependency on fossil energies. The Qatar Vision 2030 outlines clear steps to that end, which are clearly being executed. The 2022 world cup was not in the agenda some years ago, but will definitively help the country to achieve its goals.

In the tax arena Qatar is moving in the right direction as supported by the Law No. (21) of 2009, creating a corporation tax rate of 10% for all companies. According to the OECD report on Qatar

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