CLDP Results in the Middle East and North Africa

CLDP has been working in the Middle East/Maghreb since 1998. Throughout the years, CLDP work has grown to encompass most countries in the region. Projects currently focus on assistance in the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia), Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

North Africa

CLDP work in the Maghreb began in 2000 under the United States – North Africa Economic Partnership (USNAEP). CLDP was tasked with assisting the governments of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco with the formation of trade policies that support the development of a more market-based economy in order to promote trade and investment. This training lead to more liberalized trade in the region and supports one of the US Government’s major strategic objectives: acceleration of private sector-led, export-oriented, economic growth. CLDP’s activities in the Maghreb continue today through the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the US Department of State. Of particular importance recently has been assistance to Morocco with implementation of the US – Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA). CLDP’s Tunisia program supports the US – Tunisia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) by building judicial capacity to handle commercial cases and promoting the development of effective franchise laws and regulations.

ALGERIA

CLDP provided the WTO accession assistance to the Government of Algeria (GOA) and has helped build a legal environment in Algeria more conducive to trade and investment. In addition to commercial law training for judges, CLDP has galvanized reforms in the banking sector and helped to build up the capacity for small and medium enterprise (SME) equity financing. Recent projects have focused improving technology transfer practices and licensing provisions to enable more rapid development of SMEs. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Algeria.

LIBYA

CLDP has worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli to identify a multi-front plan to encourage entrepreneurship, the growth of SMEs, and a consistent modern legal environment. CLDP is helping Libya move closer towards economic liberalization through the development of new commercial laws, such as company law and corporate finance, lending law, insolvency and bankruptcy law, contract law, competition law, and e-commerce law. CLDP is also holding several workshops and seminars for the judiciary on commercial law topics such as international contract law, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property enforcement and government procurement. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Libya.

MOROCCO

Morocco has had to meet a range of obligations to be fully compliant with the US-Morocco FTA requirements since the agreement went into effect. Consequently, CLDP has been providing assistance to the Government of Morocco (GOM) to facilitate full compliance. CLDP’s work has included improving technical standards, sharing business practice information, exploring joint venture opportunities and improving the government’s procurement system. In addition, CLDP worked jointly with other USG agencies and the GOM to resolve a discrepancy in trade data and improved the perception of the FTA among the wider Moroccan population. CLDP training on trade remedies helped bring an end to a Moroccan safeguards action against U.S. importers of PVC in 2010 and rules of origin training is helping to expedite customs measures. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Morocco.

TUNISIA

CLDP has assessed Tunisia’s intellectual property rights laws to ensure compliance and effective enforcement of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Following the US-Tunisia TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) meetings CLDP has worked with the Government of Tunisia to implement management of intellectual capital, and to organize consultations regarding market access in the pharmaceutical sector. In addition, CLDP has helped to build judicial capacity by training judges on bankruptcy matters; assisted Tunisia to implement greater transparency in the government procurement process; and shared ideas with Tunisia’s SMEs on how to pursue a comprehensive international trade strategy. CLDP’s current activities focus on helping Tunisia develop a knowledge-based economy primarily through training on Intellectual Property Rights, licensing and technology transfer for both the private and the public sectors and by helping Tunisia’s young entrepreneurs build their capacity to create advanced technology small businesses. Further, CLDP is focusing on the successful implementation of the new franchise law as well as the dissemination of best practices in franchising. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Tunisia.

Middle East

CLDP work in the Middle East began in 1998 when it was asked by USAID to provide assistance to Egypt. The Egypt program throughout the years has been quite eclectic, incorporating work in intellectual property rights, trade policy, anti-trust, trade remedies, product standards, consumer protection, alternative dispute resolution, mortgage and insurance regulation, and e-commerce-related issues. In 2004, work in the region expanded through the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to all of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In these countries, CLDP has focused on developing laws and legal systems that support increased trade liberalization and economic diversification. To that end, CLDP has conducted numerous trade agreement compliance capacity building programs to support US Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in Bahrain and Oman. CLDP has advised countries in the Arabian Peninsula in the drafting of core commercial laws such as company laws, corporate governance codes, lending laws, insolvency laws and contract laws to support entrepreneurship and economic diversification. Each year since 2005, CLDP has also conducted regional judicial conferences in the Middle East to raise the capacity of judges and lawyers to enforce commercial laws based on international standards. In addition, CLDP has advised the faculties of law at universities in the Middle East and has conducted regional programs to raise the level of commercial law education in the region through curriculum development, skills training and participation in arbitration moot competitions. Since 2009, through its collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, CLDP has been an integral part of the USG effort to assist Iraq’s transition to a robust and stable economy by advising on the drafting of commercial law legislation as well as training lawyers and judges in complex commercial transactions.

BAHRAIN

To increase trade and entrepreneurship, CLDP assisted the Government of Bahrain in revising core business laws to support paradigm changes in Bahrain’s economy. Since 2004, CLDP has worked with Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) to shorten business start up times and generate SME growth in Bahrain. With CLDP assistance, the MOIC drafted a new Commercial Companies Law, which is awaiting approval from the Bahraini Parliament. With significant input from CLDP, the MOIC launched a new Corporate Governance Code that is an excellent model code of ethics for corporate management and oversight, including incorporating Islamic financing requirements. Also, through a multi-year series of workshops, CLDP has trained Bahraini judges in how to adjudicate complex commercial disputes based on international best practices. In addition, CLDP helped Bahrain in the implementation of the US-Bahrain FTA including the organization and launch of an Advance Rulings Office in the Bahrain Customs authority. CLDP has also worked with the Faculty of Law at the University of Bahrain in order to develop commercial law courses as well as a Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team for regional and international competition. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Bahrain.

EGYPT

From 1998 to 2012, CLDP advised the Government of Egypt (GOE) and the Egyptian private sector on legislation, regulations, and practices concerning competition, consumer protection, insurance, trade, product standards, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and telecommunications. CLDP also assisted the GOE in building capacity within the regulatory authorities established by these laws, including providing continuing technical training for the staff of the newly formed Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), which successfully investigated and helped prosecute Egypt's first antitrust violations, and to the Egyptian Consumer Protection Agency, which oversaw the first product recall in Egypt, and created a call center with an effective hotline for consumer complaints. CLDP also provided support to the Egyptian Standards Organization through training in food safety and TBT Enquiry Point procedures.

CLDP, working closely with the Department of Commerce Office of Trade Policy and Analysis (OTPA), assisted the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in improving the industry analysis skills of MTI government analysts by customizing an e-learning analysis tool kit that will be used continually to train future incoming staff. CLDP also worked with the MTI to train Egyptian Commercial Attachés, who now exercise enhanced techniques to promote trade and investment.

Also, as a result of CLDP’s cooperation with the National Center for Judicial Studies (NCJS) from 2006 to 2012, Egyptian judges are now better able to handle complex cases regarding intellectual property, telecommunications, electronic signatures, and bankruptcy.

Finally, CLDP worked with the Egyptian Government to bring more transparency, integrity and ethical conduct into the operations of its ministries.  CLDP initiated a pilot project with the Egyptian Customs Authority to review ethics and conduct codes, and to share expertise about how to get the best work out of Egyptian civil servants. CLDP brought the vast expertise of Department of Commerce attorneys to provide guidance on draft regulations, deliver training over 150 mid-level ECA staff in Alexandria, Port Said, and Cairo, and served as counselors to senior Egyptian officials trying to create more functional, dependable government services.

IRAQ

In support of the Government of Iraq’s goal of fostering a legal environment conducive to economic diversification and private sector growth, CLDP has built capacity for the Iraqi Government to negotiate and implement durable contracts with foreign companies, improved the enforcement of arbitration awards and arbitration agreements in Iraq and prepared judges to better adjudicate complex commercial disputes with foreign parties. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Iraq.

KUWAIT

CLDP has supported Kuwait’s goals of raising the capacity of the Kuwaiti judiciary to adjudicate complex commercial translations. Through conferences and consultations, CLDP has helped the Kuwait Institute of Judicial & Legal Studies train judges in international best practices in the adjudication of commercial disputes. In addition, CLDP has advised the Kuwait University College of Law in commercial law education methodology and international commercial arbitration education. Through these programs, CLDP has assisted Kuwait in preparing the next generation of Kuwaiti lawyers and judges for the complex commercial transactions that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the Middle East. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Kuwait.

OMAN

CLDP has collaborated with business leaders, lawyers, judges, and law faculty to support vibrant foreign and domestic business growth in Oman. To that end, CLDP has advised the Government of Oman on those business laws that are significant to entrepreneurship in Oman, including Commercial Companies Law, Corporate Governance Code, and E-Transactions Law. Furthermore, CLDP paired new and experienced professors from Oman with US-based academic institutions to improve commercial law education materials and teaching methodologies at the College of Law at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman. The College of Law now has specialized course offerings in international business transactions, international trade, and international arbitration. CLDP was also instrumental in the development of a law student advocacy team at the College that competes in the annual Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria each year. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Oman.

QATAR

CLDP has advised Qatar on the revision of the country’s commercial code and in particular those changes that would improve foreign investment and business regulation. In addition, CLDP has provided programs for legal and judicial educators in Qatar in order to improve their methods of commercial law adjudication in the country. CLDP has also worked with the College of Law on enhancing international arbitration education, which will lead to the development of a Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team for competition. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Qatar.

SAUDI ARABIA

CLDP has supported the Government of Saudi Arabia in its goals to modernize its judiciary and improve the environment for doing business. To that end, CLDP has organized judicial consultations for judges from Saudi Arabia and the US to exchange practices in the adjudication of commercial transactions. In a historic first, judges from Saudi Arabia traveled to the US in 2008 for two weeks of judicial consultations involving federal and state courts, the Administrative Office of the US Courts, the Federal Judicial Center, and the US Supreme Court. In these exchanges, judges from the US have met with judges from federal and state courts of Saudi Arabia as well as representatives from the Board of Grievances, which is the highest court with jurisdiction over commercial matters in Saudi Arabia. These exchanges have focused on commercial matters such as bankruptcy adjudication, international arbitration, and intellectual property enforcement as well as administrative matters such as case management and judicial independence. In addition, CLDP has worked with the Islamic Development Bank in order to design mechanisms for increased transparency of commercial laws and judicial decisions in Saudi Arabia. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in Saudi Arabia.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)

With significant business activity, investors look to the UAE for increased opportunity, but not without risk. CLDP has worked to mitigate the risk of doing business in the UAE through increased enforcement of commercial laws and international treaties. CLDP has assisted in improving the environment for doing business in the UAE by advising the Government of the UAE regarding the development and enforcement of commercial laws related to foreign investment and competition. Furthermore, CLDP provided legislative drafting assistance and judicial training to the Government of the UAE to support the country’s efforts to comply with its obligations as a recent signatory to the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Furthermore, CLDP has advised the College of Law at the UAE University in the development of commercial law courses as well as the establishment of a Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team. Yemen Through legal consultations and judicial capacity building programs, CLDP has assisted the Government of Yemen in developing a culture of legal education for burgeoning young lawyers and judges as well as for business people in Yemen. CLDP has advised the University of Sana’a Faculties of Law and Business regarding commercial law curricula, providing commercial law resources in English and scholastic expertise for improving commercial law education at the University. In addition, CLDP has advised these faculties in the development of a clinical course for law and business students to advise micro-financing clients about their legal rights in doing business in Yemen. CLDP has also provided education to Yemeni judges focused on contracting and commercial dispute resolution. Please click here to learn about CLDP's current programs in UAE.

YEMEN

Through legal consultations and judicial capacity building programs, CLDP has assisted the Government of Yemen in developing a culture of legal education for burgeoning young lawyers and judges as well as for business people in Yemen. CLDP has advised the University of Sana’a Faculties of Law and Business regarding commercial law curricula, providing commercial law resources in English and scholastic expertise for improving commercial law education at the University. In addition, CLDP has advised these faculties in the development of a clinical course for law and business students to advise micro-financing clients about their legal rights in doing business in Yemen. CLDP has also provided education to Yemeni judges focused on contracting and commercial dispute resolution. Please click here to learn more aobut CLDP's current programs in Yemen.

Upcoming Programs

CLDP in Action

June 16, 2014 - June 21, 2014

To support the development of US franchise opportunities in Iraq, the US Department of Commerce (FCS and CLDP), in cooperation with the Iraqi National Investment Commission (NIC), the US Embassy in Iraq, and the US Consulate in Erbil, organized a Franchising Program for Iraq’s private sector from June 16 – 21, 2014.