General Counsel Welsh Promotes Commercial Law Development in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia
U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel Kelly Welsh met with government officials and business leaders in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this week to strengthen ties with regional counterparts and to assess challenges U.S. businesses face in the those countries. The General Counsel’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) organized the trip as part of ongoing efforts to improve the legal environment for American companies doing business in the Middle East.
The Crown Prince of Bahrain, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa welcomed General Counsel Welsh at the Riffa Palace, where they discussed the importance of strong economic ties between the United States and Bahrain. They also discussed steps taken to advance the commercial legal system in Bahrain, which will enhance the ease of doing business and attract foreign investment. His Excellency the Minister of Industry and Commerce Zayed Rashid Al Zayani commented during the meeting on the strong ties between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s CLDP and the Bahrain Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
General Counsel Welsh focused on entrepreneurship developments in Bahrain at a roundtable with members of the business community, and offered suggestions on how to create a legal environment that is conducive to investment and growth. Welsh and the delegation also discussed ways to advance U.S. and international investments in Bahrain with representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce.
In Saudi Arabia, General Counsel Welsh discussed the role of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) in modernizing commercial law in Saudi Arabia with His Excellency Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of SAGIA, and His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
General Counsel Welsh also met with the senior leadership of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), including Vice Governor Mr. Abdulaziz S. Al-Furaih. SAMA officials highlighted the Saudi bankruptcy law draft being circulated for review, and they noted steps the Saudi Arabian government is taking to promote anti-corruption. The SAMA officials indicated their desire to cooperate with CLDP on insolvency laws in the Kingdom. They also discussed ways to enhance the climate for investments in the United States by Saudi Arabian entities and individuals.
General Counsel Welsh also discussed joint programming to enhance commercial law modernization in Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East with the Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry (MCI) for Legal Affairs, Dr. Fahad Abu Hamed. In addition, General Counsel Welsh met with the Saudi Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Chairman H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who briefed the General Counsel on the progress the CMA and MCI legal teams were making in advancing the commercial legal infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation hosted the Commerce delegation to discuss its role in leading IPR programming to increase IPR awareness and capacity in Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East region.
In all of these meetings and forums, General Counsel Welsh and CLDP stressed the importance of a strong commercial rule of law to economic development and the value of CLDP in those efforts. In conversations with business leaders in the country, the General Counsel discussed ways to improve the legal and business environment in Saudi Arabia for U.S. and Saudi Arabian businesses. By promoting transparent and predictable legal systems around the world, the Department of Commerce is focused on fostering a global business climate that fosters growth and innovation.
CLDP Launches PPA Handbook at Powering Africa Summit
30 January 2015
“Understanding Power Purchase Agreements” brings together insights from government, financial and private sector experts to identify best practices for structuring and balancing power project contracts. As part of a week-long series of programs focused on expanding access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, the Commercial Law Development Program officially launched the print version of the “Understanding Power Purchase Agreements” handbook. The development and drafting of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Handbook, which was funded by USAID and conducted through a partnership between CLDP and the Africa Legal Support Facility, explains the core elements of a PPA and provides the reader with an understanding of the balancing of risk between the developer, financier and host government that is necessary to reach bankability. The hope is that this open-source knowledge sharing tool can help shorted the multi-year negotiations required for PPAs by reducing misconceptions and building a consensus around best practices.
The updated version of the book, Version 1.2, was first made available on January 22 through CLDP’s website. On January 27, CLDP participated in a Twitter chat with other USG agencies to highlight the PPA Handbook and other Commerce efforts to support Power Africa. On January 28, the PPA Handbook was held out by both USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Power Africa Coordinator Andy Herscowitz as a key example of the knowledge building efforts within Power Africa at the Power Africa Private Sector Partners Meeting. On January 29 and 30, CLDP distributed print copies of the PPA Handbook as part of the Powering Africa Summit, where Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Matthew Murray, highlighted the important role the handbook will play in building trust between the private sector and Africa governments as part of his remarks to the conference delegates. The PPA Handbook was well received at all three events and has already garnered significant praise from the power community.
Additional detail on the diverse groups of authors who contributed to the book, the drafting process and the consultations that established the need for this resource can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/FBzH.
CLDP's mission is to improve the legal environment for doing business in developing and transitional countries around the globe and thereby foster greater political stability and economic opportunity for local entrepreneurs and U.S. companies alike. CLDP serves as a resource for federal agencies, US businesses, foreign governments and foreign businesses by organizing seminars, workshops, and conferences and by providing training consultations in the US and other countries for foreign delegations. CLDP attorneys, resident advisors, program specialists and administrative personnel are multicultural and have expertise in international business, commercial law, trade relations and development assistance. When designing and implementing programs, CLDP also draws on expertise from various US Government agencies, multilateral and international organizations, educational institutions and the private sector.
CLDP Honored by the Secretary of Commerce for Commercial Law Technical Assistance in Iraq
In January 2015, four CLDP staff, Deputy Chief Counsel Marc Tejtel, Operations Manager Harry Hill, Attorney Advisor Hamada Zahawi and International Program Specialist Adam Al-Sarraf, received the Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal Award for sharing expertise that led to a legal environment in Iraq that is friendly to international arbitration and that recognizes arbitration agreements and awards. The Gold Medal is given by the Secretary of Commerce to employees for distinguished achievement in the Federal Service. CLDP’s success in Iraq was achieved through multi-phase programs with Iraq’s key judicial and legislative institutions, which focused on the importance of international arbitration for attracting investment and trade. CLDP’s joint programming with the Iraqi government ultimately led to Iraq’s intention to join the ICSID convention and its courts adoption of international principles to recognize international arbitration agreements under Iraqi law.
CLDP Supports the Publication of the First Georgian International Economic Diplomacy Manual
As part of a multi-year technical assistance program, CLDP has partnered with Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (MOESD) to develop commercial and trade curricula for the MFA’s Diplomatic Training Center (DTC). DTC then led the effort to develop a Georgian International Economic Diplomacy Manual to be used during trainings and as a reference guide for current diplomats engaged in commercial matters abroad and has now launched the manual with CLDP's support. On July 9th, Ambassador Norland and Minister Punjikidze presented the First Georgian International Economic Diplomacy Manual at the Workshop on Commercial Diplomacy and World Trade.
CLDP's Power Africa Program: Streamlining Power Purchase Agreements
The July 2014 Power Africa newsletter of the US Agency for International Development features the article "Powering Africa and Spurring Commerce" on CLDP's Workshop on the Annotation of Power Purchase Agreements for Power Africa, March 26-28, 2014.
CLDP Hosts Fourth Annual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot in Doha
The Gulf Times newspaper reports on the Fourth Annual William C. Vis Middle East International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot, taking place March 1-7, 2014 in Doha. This event is organized by CLDP and Qatar University with support from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Center for International Legal Education.
CLDP Standards Conference Featured in Morocco AmCham E-Newsletter
CLDP’s regional conference for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on Standards Development and Regulatory Good Practices, held in Casablanca, Morocco May 21-23, 2013 was featured in the 2013 Issue 3 of the American Chamber of Commerce in Morocco E-Newsletter. CLDP, in cooperation with USTR and NIST, gathered government and private sector standards and conformity assessment specialists to discuss good regulatory practices in standards development, with a sector focus on energy efficiency and green building standards. The conference served to initiate USAID’s Standards Alliance and facilitated ongoing cooperation between U.S.-based private standards development organizations and governments in the Middle East.
CLDP Workshop on Commercial Diplomacy and World Trade Featured in Georgia AmCham Magazine
Workshop on Commercial Diplomacy and World Trade for Georgia’s Diplomatic Corps
The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi reports on the July 9-11, 2013 Workshop on Commercial Diplomacy and World Trade, held at the Diplomatic Training Center in Tbilisi, Georgia for Georgia's Diplomatic Corps.