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April 2009


VAT Developments in the Gulf States

UK Training (Worldwide) Limited has been closely monitoring the planned introduction of VAT in the Gulf States and recently presented a seminar at The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. The full-day event was opened by Robin Lamb, Head of Business Development at the Chamber, addressing representatives from a diverse range of businesses with strong trade links in the Middle East.

Peter Hughes and Tony Wilson, two of UK Training's international VAT experts, explained to the delegates the implications of VAT replacing customs duties across the Gulf States. The European experience, where a collection of countries each apply different standard rates and various schedules of zero rated and exempt supplies, provided clear illustrations of the challenges the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could face. The GCC is wishing to ensure that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain adopt a unified approach.

An interesting perspective was also provided by Rod Stone, Senior Policy Advisor at HM Revenue and Customs, who illustrated how tax systems are open to fraud, especially where cross-border transactions are concerned, and highlighted the basic steps companies can take to help prevent fraud.

The day was concluded by Stephen Smith, Managing Director of UK Training (Worldwide) Limited, who brought delegates up to date with the latest information emanating from the Gulf. While a system of VAT has been designed for the United Arab Emirates, no implementation timetable has been announced. The impact of the downturn in the global economy, together with the possibility of introducing VAT simultaneously across all six member countries of the GCC could mean that early implementation is now less likely than was thought a few months ago.

The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce

UK Training would like to thank The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce for their support in organising this event.

UK Training joined the Chamber when they were invited to Dubai to meet Abdulrahman Al Saleh who is the Executive Director of Dubai Customs responsible for the VAT implementation programme.

The Chamber offers unique expertise and reliable guidance to help organisations trade successfully between the UK and the Arab world.

To join the Chamber telephone Dr Lamya Al-Imara on +44 (0) 20 7659 4865 or click here.

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