Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Intellectual property protection

Qatar has taken steps to improve its intellectual property protection, with the introduction of Trademark, Copyright and Patent laws. Qatar is a member of several worldwide conventions, such as TRIPS and WTO conventions, but it is not a signatory of the Madrid Convention.

The Ministry for Economy and Finance is responsible for registration and enforcement. Subsidiary offices handle specific rights, such as the Trademarks Office, the office for the Protection of Copyright and Patents and Innovation. Trade secrets are also protected by a specific law and foreign applicants have the same rights as Qataris. Data protection regulation also exists.

Dispute resolution

Binding arbitration is typically preferred as the method of dispute resolution in business. Although there are centres for arbitration in Qatar, locations in America or Europe may be chosen. Foreign parties operating in Qatar often use well-established arbitral regimes, such as UNCITRAL or ICC.

Qatar has also acceded to and implemented the New York Convention on the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Tribunal has further signalled Qatar’s ambition to provide quality international dispute resolution.

Similarly to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the Tribunal employs common law principles and is administered by international judges in English language.