Author: Gordon Platt

DUBAI’S NEW BUSINESS LAW COULD STIMULATE INVESTMENT

By Gordon Platt

A new law governing corporate activity in the UAE should cut red tape for investors and make it easier for companies operating in the emirate’s free zones to set up branches in Dubai.

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Women to gain the vote in Saudi Arabia

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced Law Number 13 of 2011 recently.

The law establishes a unified business registry for Dubai and clarifies requirements for setting up a business. It authorizes the Department of Economic Development to manage all issues related to intellectual property rights and commercial fraud, and strengthens the role of the government in consumer protection. The DED is responsible for regulating and licensing economic activity outside the free zones.

The World Bank increased its forecast for growth in the Middle East and North Africa to 4.1% this year and 3.8% in 2012. It cited “more expansionary fiscal policies, expanded oil production, better-than-expected growth in Iran, and a quicker-than-anticipated pickup in industrial production in Egypt.”

Libya’s National Oil Corporation said the country’s October 2011 oil output was expected to reach 500,000 barrels a day. It added that the Zawiyah refinery, with a capacity to process 120,000 bpd, was in the process of restarting operations. French oil company Total, which has a joint venture with the Libyan state oil company and German firm Wintershall, restarted production from an offshore oil platform in the Mediterranean. Italy’s Eni also restarted oil production in Libya.

In Saudi Arabia, king Abdullah announced that the kingdom’s women would be able to vote for the first time in nationwide local elections beginning in 2015. Saudi women also will be able to run for office and become members of the country’s top advisory body, but they are still forbidden to drive. King Abdullah is moving ahead cautiously with social reforms amid the political upheavals elsewhere in the region.