The Middle East & North Africa

September 27, 2018 - September 28, 2018

MENA: CLDP Organizes Regional Insolvency Conference

On September 27-28, in Casablanca, Morocco, CLDP organized a regional conference on insolvency for 75 participants from the MENA region. In recent years, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have passed new insolvency laws that are in line with international best practices, and Kuwait is in the process of drafting a similar law. These laws allow for civil protection from creditors and for the restructuring of companies in financial peril, but success in transforming the insolvency practices in these countries will depend upon proper implementation of the new laws. For that reason, CLDP organized a regional conference for judges, lawyers, trustees, and other stakeholders from each of these 5 countries to come together to hear best practices and practical examples from the U.S. and to share experiences. CLDP expert advisors, including two U.S. federal bankruptcy judges and an insolvency expert from the UN Commission on International Trade Law spoke about the role of the judiciary in restructuring cases, cross-border insolvencies, methods of valuation, and the role of alternative dispute resolution in restructuring cases, all key considerations in the successful implementation of an effective insolvency system. This regional workshop complements CLDP’s bilateral insolvency assistance in the region, which aims to prepare the judiciaries in these countries to preside over insolvency proceedings. The new laws and their effective implementation will help these countries attract foreign investment, including U.S. investors who seek fair and predictable mechanisms for credit recovery.

September 26, 2018 - September 27, 2018

Bahrain: CLDP Leads Judicial Training on Implementing New Bankruptcy Law

From September 26-27, in Manama, CLDP, in coordination with the Supreme Judicial Council of Bahrain, conducted a judicial training on the development of a bankruptcy system in Bahrain for 16 local judges. Bahrain recently adopted a new bankruptcy law in accordance with international best practices, which allows for restructuring proceedings. CLDP experts included the Hon. Michael Williamson, chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Middle District of Florida, who focused on reorganization case studies, while also sharing practical experience on bankruptcy case management in the U.S. system. Participants learned about the process by which bankruptcy cases are adjudicated in the U.S. Topics included how a transparent and predictable bankruptcy system can help attract foreign investment, the role of court automation and case management technology in ensuring efficient and transparent adjudication of disputes, and valuation methods and the enforcement of cross border bankruptcy judgments, which is becoming increasingly important with the global nature of commercial lending. CLDP will be actively promoting the new bankruptcy law in Bahrain to help train a new cadre of bankruptcy trustees as well as to train the judges that will preside over insolvency proceedings, alongside the government stakeholders that will regulate the bankruptcy system. 

September 26, 2018 - September 27, 2018

Bahrain: CLDP Releases First Draft of Legislative Drafting Guide to Parliament

On September 26, in Manama, CLDP met with the head legal advisors and legal researchers of the Bahrain Parliament to release a draft guide on commercial legislative research. The guide is intended to act as a resource tool for the legal advisors, researchers, and parliament training center staff to promote better institutional understanding and best practices on researching and writing legal memos for Bahrain’s parliament. For the past two years, CLDP has provided technical assistance to the Parliament of Bahrain on a variety of economic and trade-related topics. The guide represents a compilation of those topics, including how to study the economic impact of legislation, trade and value-add tax legislation, and best practices in drafting legislative memos.  The guide also serves as a resource tool and links users with online tools such as the model laws available from the World Trade Organization and UN Commission on International Trade Law. The Parliament of Bahrain greeted the release of the guide with enthusiastic support, with final publication anticipated by December 2018.

September 24, 2018 - September 25, 2018

Bahrain: CLDP Leads Workshop to Implement Procurement Reforms to Promote SMEs

On September 24-25, in Manama, CLDP led a workshop and focus group on government tendering in cooperation with the Bahrain Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MOICT), Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain, Bahrain Businesswomen Society and several government contracting agencies. The workshop focused on Bahrain’s recent reforms to promote set-aside programs for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Such programs aim to set aside a set percentage of public contracts to be awarded exclusively to SMEs. The workshop was the fourth meeting led by CLDP and MOICT, and largely focused on electronic procurement mechanisms and online registry to move forward on the pilot program to promote the use of SMEs in public procurement. In implementing the pilot program, MOICT has considered incorporating many of CLDP’s recommendations, including creating a small business oversight body, online registration system, and online advertising platforms that are similar. While the pilot program is expected to be launched in early 2019 for three government agencies, CLDP expects to continue to provide technical assistance on SME procurement reform to help make small business set-aside programs a reality.

September 24, 2018 - September 28, 2018

Tunisia: Evaluation of the Suspension and Debarment Regime

From September 24-28, CLDP conducted an evaluation of the Tunisian suspension and debarment regime in collaboration with HAICOP, Tunisia’s government procurement body. For the past four years, CLDP has been working with HAICOP to promote transparent and efficient government procurement processes. The evaluation was an opportunity to assess the implementation of the suspension and debarment regime, two years after passage of the exclusion decree. During the week of the evaluation, CLDP met with HAICOP leadership and interviewed members of the commission that rule on exclusion cases, reviewed all current exclusion and declination case files, and presented a preliminary report with key findings and recommendations focused on promoting transparency, efficiency, and fairness in the exclusion process. For example, CLDP recommended that exclusion decisions should include detailed information on the commission’s decision-making process, allowing economic operators to better understand why they are being excluded and respond accordingly. Based on its assessment, CLDP will prepare a final report with recommendations to be shared with HAICOP before the end of the year. CLDP expects to continue to work closely with HAICOP to implement the recommendations as the exclusion commission takes shapes and more capacity building needs are identified.

September 18, 2018 - September 19, 2018

Qatar: CLDP Leads Workshop on Framework Agreements and Electronic Procurement

On September 18-19, in Doha, CLDP held its second workshop to support the Qatar Ministry of Finance Office of Procurement Regulation’s initiative to develop new procurement laws and regulations to support broader transparency, efficiency, and harmonized standards in Qatar.  Over the past decade, Qatar has initiated several large infrastructure and development projects and will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which has required it to reform its commercial legal framework.  CLDP's workshop supported the newly formed working group of key ministries, agencies, and stakeholders that will develop the government procurement regime. Expert-advisors for the program included U.S. officials from the General Services Administration (GSA) and a World Bank procurement consultant.  GSA experts discussed best practices to develop and create framework agreements for commercial commodities and services, primarily focusing on pre-qualification evaluation and cost analysis from using such agreements.  Several sessions also reviewed international standards for standardized electronic procurement, with a key emphasis on e-advertising platforms. The workshop is part of a series of programs on procurement best practices in Qatar, which will help level the playing field for domestic and U.S. companies bidding on government contracts.

June 21, 2018 - June 22, 2018

Saudi Arabia: CLDP Hosts Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration

On June 21 and 22, in Washington DC, CLDP hosted representatives from the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA), a recently created international alternative dispute resolution center affiliated with the Saudi Chambers of Commerce to resolve commercial disputes in Riyadh.  CLDP has worked with SCCA since its inception to ensure that there are alternative dispute resolution options in Riyadh to help resolve international commercial dispute for US and Saudi companies alike.  SCCA provides a reliable option for dispute resolution that is attractive to Saudi litigants who prefer to manage their commercial disputes in Riyadh rather than in other places in the Gulf Cooperation Council.  As a center based on international commercial dispute resolution standards, SCCA also provides an attractive option for U.S. and international companies that would normally try to resolve disputes in New York, Dubai, London, or Paris.  SCCA’s development coincides with significant commercial dispute resolution reform in Saudi Arabia, such as the recent Ministry of Justice decision to honor $3.4 billion in foreign court rulings, demonstrating Saudi’s commitment to upholding high standards for contract enforcement in the Kingdom.

May 29, 2018 - June 2, 2018

Iraq: CLDP Prepares Iraqi Investors to Acquire US Franchises

On May 29 - June 2, CLDP, in coordination with the US Mission to Iraq, ITA, FCS, and the International Franchise Association (IFA), hosted a 5 day program on “Investing in US Franchises” for a delegation of prospective Iraqi franchisees.