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BUSINESS FORMS & STRUCTURES
CURRENCY & BANKING
TAXATION INVESTMENT & TRADE PUBLIC PROCURMENT LABOR LAW ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Investment and Trade Issues
Recently, Kuwait adopted Law No. 56 of 1996 (Effective 15.1.97), creating an independent entity called the Industrial Authority, and abolishing the Shaubia Industrial Authority and the Industrial Committee. All industrial projects in the emirate, including those now in operation, will have to be licensed by the new authority.
A variety of incentives are offered to new manufacturing businesses under the investment laws. Industrial enterprises which are eligible to receive such investment incentives must first obtain a permit from the Minister of Commerce and Industry prior to being established. Prior to effecting any change in its capacity, location, or business, an approved industrial enterprise must obtain a modified permit from the Minister of Commerce and Industry. Eligible enterprises are businesses run by Kuwaiti individuals or companies established in Kuwait.
Approved industrial enterprises must provide the Ministry of Commerce and Industry with their annual financial statements and records of goods importduty-free under the incentivesprogram. The work force of an approved industrial enterprise must be composed of at least 25 percent Kuwaiti nationals, unless waived by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry because of the unavailability of sufficient qualified Kuwaiti labor.
Kuwait is a member of the GCC and, as such, is subject to the GCC trade agreements. These agreements are described in the section on Trade Agreements in the chapter on Bahrain.
Kuwait has been a member of GATT since 1963 and has signed the WTO agreement.
Only Kuwaiti nationals and entities in which Kuwaitis hold at least a 51 percent interest are permitted to import goods into Kuwait. Foreign business entities are required to use a Kuwaiti import agent. The standard customs duty is levied at 4 percent of the CIF value of the goods imported. Some items which are competitively produced in Kuwait are subject to an elevated customs duty of 15 percent.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry was authorized to set up free trade zones by Law No. 26 of 1995. In June 1996 the Ministry accepted a proposal to manage a free trade zone at Shuwaikh Port. Many of the current restrictions on foreign investors will not apply to offices and plants located in that zone.
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