NEW LIBERALISED BUSINESS LAWS

Extensive legislation to reform Kuwait's economy, liberalise its business laws and comply with WTO rules was issued by Amiri Decree in June 1999. In May 2000 the National Assembly approved the Indirect Foreign Investment Law which allows foreigners to own stocks on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE). Law No. 20/2000 on allowing non-Kuwaitis to posses shares in Kuwaiti shareholding companies was approved. According to the Article (1) of the law, non-Kuwaitis may posses shares in the Kuwaiti shareholding companies already incorporated during the effective date or which may be incorporated after its implementation. Non-Kuwatis may participate in the establishment of these companies in accordance with the provisions of the law. In August 2000 the Kuwaiti Cabinet approved regulations necessary to implement the bill allowing foreigners to own stocks and trade on the bourse. The legislation allows foreign investors and expatriates living in Kuwait to own up to 100 per cent of the stock of Kuwaiti companies listed on the KSE, except in banks where the ownership will be limited to 49 per cent.