New Amendments to the Commercial Agents Law

The Emir of Qatar, his highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, has issued Law (2) of 2016 (“New Law”), amending several provisions of the Commercial Agents Law (Law (8) of 2002) which introduces a number of interesting changes.

The New Law will now permit agents who are registered with the Trade Agents Department to import goods covered by other existing agents. However, the New Law will permit the Minister of Economy and Commerce to enact certain conditions with respect to the good being imported, and the Cabinet has the authority to exempt certain goods, services and products from the application of the New Law.

Article 5 of the New Law states that an agent is permitted to seek compensation from the principal in accordance with the agency agreement for goods imported by third parties, provided that such goods are imported for trading purposes. However the agent is not entitled to any commission for the goods and products imported for personal use.

Additionally, the New Law appears to categorise any exclusive distributor or trader of any industrial or commercial product or service to be a commercial agent. However, it appears that distributor registration as an agent is still a prerequisite to being subject to the Commercial Agents Law.

The New Law stipulates a jail term of not more than three months or fine of not more than QR 10,000, or both, for anyone falsely claiming he is a legal commercial agent whether in contracts or printed papers related to business.

Although the New Law appears to open up the market, it will be interesting to see which products are ultimately exempted from the its application.

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Michael Earley