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Corporate & Commercial 

SMAM has had extensive experience in acting for and advising clients on the laws, regulations and practices of the Area in the matters mentioned below.

1. Banking 

Obtaining advice on banking laws and practical practices in the Area is an essential factor for investment and business promotion therein. This usually includes borrowing requirements, charging interest and the chronological changes thereof, the conduct of investment and financial business and services, foreign offerings restrictions, establishing branches or representative offices and foreign exchange controls. 

2. BOT Projects 

In association with reputable well established law firms in London, Sabah Mahmoud has advised on BOT projects to be implemented in the Area. This involved the application of local laws including those related to labour and foreign investments. 

3. Company Incorporation

Advised Clients who intend to establish a presence in the Area on the available options such as the incorporation of local companies, joint ventures or the registration of company branches in the Area.  This important aspect of business usually  involves drafting company memoranda and articles, sponsorship agreements or contracts as well as assistance in the discussions and negotiations leading to their conclusion. Additionally services provided might include the nomination of a qualified national partner/sponsor or advice on their selection a matter which could be crucial for the successful operation of the business.

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4. Commercial Agencies

Trading activities such as the distribution of goods and services is usually performed by appointed local commercial agents. Therefore commercial agencies are an extremely important but potentially problematic aspect of conducting business with the Area. The selection and appointment of the invariably requisite local agent is not only crucial for the promotion and expansion of the business, but could a cause numerous difficulties if the right commercial agent is not chosen. Here again Gulf-Law provides advice on the drafting of agency contracts as well as the selection of qualified agents. 

5. Labour

Obtaining work and residence permits for the labour force required for the business especially in areas such as construction or other labour intensive activities could be a difficult task. Awareness of labour employment rules and restrictions could be a very important factor in presenting tenders or the financial analysis of projects. Labour claims and disputes could also easily arise and create a distraction to the conduct of business. 

6. Offset

The Offset Programme was devised in the Gulf whereby a foreign contractor/supplier undertakes to reinvest a specified portion of the contract value/profits in projects in the country.  The main objective of the Programme is said to be national development and the transfer of technology by implementing approved development projects in the different economic sectors such industry and agriculture in that country.  In some Gulf countries the application of the Offset Programme is restricted to contracts for the supply of armaments and military supplies while in other countries it has been extended and applied to other major contracts.  It is imperative for interested parties to be aware of this important and expanding Programme and the opportunities it provides as well as practical difficulties of its application.

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7. Oil & Gas Concessions / Contracts

Most of the countries in the Area are major producers of oil and gas with substantial proven reserves. Concessions and agreements for the exploration and development of oil and gas in the Area are extremely important for the specialised multi-national companies operating or intending to operate in the Area. Projects for the expansion, development and maintenance of the oil and gas industry will continue to be an extremely interesting area of business for the specialised companies so long as oil and gas production continues and reserves exist in the Area. Local laws and practices vary from one country to another, consequently awareness of these laws is essential for interested parties. 

8. Intellectual Property, Trade Marks and Patents

The protection of trade marks, patents and other intellectual property rights have become an internationally recognised legal concept essential to safeguard the rights of individuals and corporate entities derived from their innovative, intellectual, artistic or technical efforts and achievements. Countries in the Area have realised the importance of the protection of these rights to international trade and have adopted laws and regulations to provide such protection. Gulf Law has assisted in the registration of trade marks and patents and advised on the relevant laws.

9. Privatisation 

The recent global trends towards encouraging private sector ownership of public utilities and important industries coupled with prevailing global and local economic circumstances such as lower oil prices and cuts in oil production, have led countries in the Area to seriously consider privatisation programmes. Gulf Law is able to assist in such privatisation in coordination with international law firms.

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