Investment protection has become a linchpin of investment policies adopted by both developing and developed Middle Eastern jurisdictions over the past two to three decades. In the light of steadily diminishing oil reserves, the oil-rich nations in particular have become acutely aware of the need to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for their sustained economic development in a post-oil era. As a result, most Middle Eastern countries have concluded both bilateral and multilateral investment treaties (BITs and MITs), as well as free trade agreements (FTAs) of regional and international reach. Some, in particular Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have adopted foreign investment laws. Investment laws typically afford foreign investors a number of:
- Basic, yet fundamental, investment guarantees, such as protection from expropriation, free transfer of the investment and repatriation of income.
- Investment incentives, such as tax exemptions and exemptions from custom duties.