Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GCC Unified Industrial Code

Recently, the GCC states have sought to unify the general administrative regulations of industrial establishments in the region. The objective is to speed the process of industrial development and enable integration amongst GCC nations. To accomplish these objectives, the Unified Industrial Regulations Law, RD 61/2008 (the “UIR Law”), and its accompanying Executive Regulations, MD 46/2009, were passed in Oman. The UIR Law and the Executive Regulations have set out a harmonized framework for the administration of GCC industrial projects.

First, the UIR Law and Executive Regulations provide a definition for “industrial establishment,” which includes all plants at which some sort of transformation of a product takes place. The definition includes establishments involving assembling, mixing, compiling, separating, processing or packaging, provided that machinery is involved in these steps. This defines the scope of the UIR Law and the projects to which it will apply.

In addition, the UIR Law requires anyone wishing to establish, modify, improve, expand, merge or divide an industrial establishment to obtain a license from MCI. The Executive Regulations set out the procedures and documents required for obtaining the license.

The UIR Law also provides an industrial register, similar to a commercial register, which will include information on all industrial projects.

Certain establishments are exempt from the requirements of the UIR Law, including projects that are governed specifically by special separate laws or treaties, or projects that are carried out solely by the government or any of its entities without the participation of private-sector entities. In addition, the UIR Law specifies that mineral ore extraction and oil extraction are exempt from the requirements of the UIR Law.

While this regulatory framework is new and its implications are still emerging, it should provide greater cohesion amongst large industrial projects in the GCC region and facilitate the transfer and sharing of information about projects.