Bahrain: Market Profile

Picture: Bahrain factsheet
Picture: Bahrain factsheet

1. Overview

Oil has been the main force behind economic growth in Bahrain, accounting for over 70% of GDP and 80% of government revenue. While the hydrocarbons sector remains the dominant industry in Bahrain, continuing efforts to boost trade growth and industrial diversification bode well for the economy in the medium-to-long term. Non-oil industrial development is still at an early stage, but the country’s strong logistics profile and supportive industrial policies may provide a base for stronger manufacturing growth and less reliance on oil revenues in the years ahead. There are promising prospects in establishing light industries, and the abundance of gas provides considerable scope for development. Despite global commodity price shocks in recent years, the overall balance of payments has remained in surplus and Bahrain's external debt is negligible.

Source: World Bank, Fitch Solutions

2. Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

April 2018
Bahrain reported the discovery of the kingdom's largest oilfield in more than 80 years.

May 2018
The Shura Council (the royally appointed upper house of the National Assembly) approved an amendment to Article 3 of Law No. 14 of 2002, known as the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights. In the interests of national security, the new amendment broadened the scope of exclusion for certain individuals from running for office in the Council of Representatives.

November 2018
Bahrain will hold a parliamentary election on November 24, 2018.

Source: BBC country profile - Timeline, Fitch Solutions

3. Major Economic Indicators

Graph: Bahrain real GDP and inflation
Graph: Bahrain real GDP and inflation
Graph: Bahrain GDP by sector (2017)
Graph: Bahrain GDP by sector (2017)
Graph: Bahrain unemployment rate
Graph: Bahrain unemployment rate
Graph: Bahrain current account balance
Graph: Bahrain current account balance

e = estimate, f = forecast
Source: IMF, World Bank
Date last reviewed: August 21, 2018

4. External Trade

4.1 Merchandise Trade

Graph: Bahrain merchandise trade
Graph: Bahrain merchandise trade

Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018

Graph: Bahrain major export commodities (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major export commodities (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major export markets (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major export markets (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major import commodities (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major import commodities (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major import markets (2016)
Graph: Bahrain major import markets (2016)

Source: Trade Map, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 14, 2018

4.2 Trade in Services

Graph: Bahrain trade in services
Graph: Bahrain trade in services

e = estimate, b = break in data continuity (data beginning with the highlighted year (2012) does not form a consistent series with those from earlier years)
Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: August 21, 2018

5. Trade Policies

  • The Kingdom of Bahrain has been a WTO member since January 1, 1995 and a member of GATT since December 13, 1993. It is signed up to the WTO Rule of Origin Agreement, WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the WTO Protocol Amending the Marrakesh Agreement. Furthermore, Bahrain is a signatory to the Istanbul Temporary Admission Convention, Harmonised System Convention and the International Convention On The Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures.

  • Bahrain has a relaxed trade regime which poses minimal tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for the majority of its trading partners.

  • In light of the global slump in crude prices, Bahrain's trade balance has been shielded by the kingdom's growing export revenues from services. For example, between 2014 and 2016, when Bahrain's total export revenue decreased by about 20.2% between 2014 and 2015 and decreased by another 7.4% between 2015 and 2016, export revenue derived from services actually increased by 6.3% between 2014 and 2015 and by around 20% between 2015 and 2016. In 2017, revenues derived from services' exports amounted to around US$11.6 billion. In 2014 (latest available data), the main services which Bahrain derived export revenue from were tourism, transport and ICT and telecommunications services. Secondary sector industries such as refined fuel production, metal product manufacturing (mainly aluminium) and construction, however, play the most significant role in terms of the country's exports and imports.

  • Bahrain is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. The GCC is a political and economic organisation which was created in the 1980s, but since 2015, a customs union has also been launched between the six member states. Therefore, the country's GCC membership means that it is part of a single market and customs union with a common external tariff.

  • A tariff of only 5.0% is imposed on the majority of items imported to Bahrain from non-GCC countries and there is a single point of entry where tariffs are collected once imports enter the GCC. Only imports on certain sensitive goods from GCC countries will face tariffs, and there is freedom of movement between GCC countries without customs or non-customs restrictions.

    • In June 2016, the GCC nations approved plans to double the tariff on imported tobacco from 100% to 200% in mid-2016. US tobacco importers are exempt due to pre-existing free trade agreements.

    • Further, Bahrain has implemented excise tax on December 30, 2017 pursuant to the GCC’s unified law on selective excise taxes.

    • There are existing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between Bahrain and the following countries and regions: Algeria, Belarus, BLEU (Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union), Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Islamic Republic of, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

Source: WTO - Trade Policy Review, Fitch Solutions, Global Trade Alert

6. Trade Agreement

6.1 Multinational Trade Agreements


  • Bahrain is a member of GCC: The GCC Customs Union, which entered in to force on January 1, 2003, sought to enhance as well as strengthen the ties among member countries. As a part of this the Customs Union sought to harmonise their economic, financial and monetary policies, their commercial and industrial legislation and customs laws. The Customs union also sought to lay the steps towards building a Common Market and an Economic and Monetary Union among Member States. As four out of five of Bahrain's top export partners (and one of five of its top importing partners) of the GCC are all members, this means that all of Bahrain's trade with these countries is tariff-free. All members benefit from having a common external customs tariff, common customs regulations and procedures and unified standards and specifications for all products. There is freedom of movement between GCC countries for the vast majority of goods without restrictions. This reduces overall time and cost burdens for supply chains.

  • Bahrain is a member of Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA): GAFTA was established in order to create an Arab economic bloc that could effectively compete with other countries while ensuring that each country increased trade with each other. The GAFTA’s has had a long history with formal existence on January 1, 1998. The most important aspect of the agreement was that over the next 10 years (to 2008), each member country would seek to carry out a 10% reduction in customs fees per annum as well as the gradual elimination of trade barriers. In March 2001, the member countries decided to reduce the period over which the reductions in tariffs could be made so as to speed up the process and, in January 2005, the elimination of most tariffs among the GAFTA members was enforced. Four out of five of Bahrain's top export markets are all members of GAFTA, as well as many of its smaller trading partners.

  • GCC and European Free Trade Association (EFTA): This agreement was signed on June 22, 2009. The provisions contained in this agreement are applicable to both the trade in goods and services. In doing so the signatories to the FTA seek to liberalise their markets. The non-trade aspects seek to enhance the economic relations between the member countries. While EFTA member states (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein) are far removed from Bahrain and there is no considerable trade between the countries, it may promote further trade in the future.

  • GCC-Singapore Free Trade Area (GSFTA): The GSFTA negotiations were concluded on January 31, 2008 and the agreement entered into force on January 1, 2009. The GSFTA is a comprehensive free trade agreement between Singapore and the GCC countries that includes the trade in goods and services under the articles GAT and GATS. The Agreement also includes provision to foster greater investment between the signatories. In the case of trade the rules of origin and customs procedures for goods between the countries have been simplified. Furthermore, the agreement seeks to create a level playing field as far as government procurement is concerned. Singapore is one of Bahrain's import suppliers and, therefore, Bahrain has benefitted from tariff eliminations on 99% of Singaporean domestic exports to the GCC.

  • Bahrain-US FTA: The US-Bahrain FTA, entered into force on January 11, 2006. On the first day the agreement took effect, 100% of the two-way trade in industrial and consumer products began to flow without tariffs. The US is one of Bahrain's top five exporting partners, and one of its top five import suppliers. The removal of tariffs on all bilateral trade between the countries in terms of industrial and consumer products, with the exception of a few agricultural items, has been highly beneficial. The US-Bahrain FTA also promotes the policy of advancing economic reforms and liberalisation in the Middle East. The United States-Bahrain Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which took effect in May 2001, covers investment issues between the two countries.

Under Negotiation

  • Australia-GCC FTA: Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the GCC, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, commenced in July 2007. These negotiations were preceded by bilateral FTA negotiations with the UAE, which were abandoned following a decision by GCC Ministers to only negotiate FTAs as a group. To date, there have been four rounds of GCC-Australia FTA negotiations, with the last one held in June 2009. Australia and the GCC share a significant economic relationship, encompassing trade and investment across a broad range of goods and services. The GCC is a key market for agricultural exports such a livestock, meat, dairy products, vegetables, sugar, wheat and other grains. The agreement provides an opportunity to address a range of tariff and non-tariff barriers. A GCC FTA would provide an opportunity to reduce barriers to trade in mineral commodities and automotive parts. Provisions on investment would both encourage inward investment from the GCC, as well as enhancing security for Australian investments in GCC countries themselves, including in such areas as mining or the development of educational campuses.

  • China and the GCC are also negotiating a trade agreement. In July 2004, China and the GCC announced the launch of China-GCC Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Thus far, the two parties have held five rounds of negotiations and have reached agreement on the majority of issues concerning trade in goods. Negotiations on trade in services are also launched. Greater trade liberalisation will help develop the industrial and service sectors.

  • The GCC and India are negotiating a free trade agreement. The agreement is expected to remove restrictive duties, push down tariffs on goods and pave the way for more intensive economic engagement between the nations. More than 50 % of India’s oil and gas come from the GCC states.

  • Japan and the GCC are negotiating a free trade agreement. This agreement will seek to reduce tariffs and the liberalisation of services trade and investment. Japan mainly imports aluminium, natural gas, liquid natural gas and petroleum products from the GCC, while Japan mainly exports electronics, vehicles, machinery, and other industrial products to the GCC.

Source: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database, Fitch Solutions

7. Investment Policy

7.1 Foreign Direct Investment

Graph: Bahrain FDI stock
Graph: Bahrain FDI stock
Graph: Bahrain FDI flow
Graph: Bahrain FDI flow

Source: UNCTAD
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018

7.2 Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. The government actively encourages investment in sectors that are export-oriented and do not compete with established local companies. Bahrain provides a free, open and transparent environment for businesses and has a globally competitive, value creation story that focuses on sustainability, skills and good governance.

  2. Although major industries, such as oil, gas, aluminium and others connected with the infrastructure, are usually majority-owned by the government, there is an increasing trend toward privatisation, and no industry is closed to foreign investors.

  3. To carry out any commercial activity in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a legal vehicle should be established in accordance with the Bahrain Commercial Companies Law No. 21 of 2001.

  4. Foreign investors are able to establish a 100% foreign-owned entity in Bahrain under certain conditions. However, for some business activities (such as trading), there is a limitation on foreign ownership, so a local partner would be required.

  5. Since 2001, the kingdom has been heavily bent towards increasing privatisation across all sectors, with the state holding company being mandated to reduce its shares in any company to less than 50%.If an international company wishes to establish a branch office in Bahrain, no local sponsor or partner is required.

  6. There are no exchange control restrictions on converting or transferring funds. Furthermore, Bahrain has no withholding or thin capitalisation rules in relation to the financing arrangements in Bahrain.

  7. Bahrain has signed the GCC VAT framework agreement in relation to the implementation of VAT in the GCC region (including Bahrain) starting in 2018. The standard VAT rate is to be 5%. Previously, VAT was not applicable to goods and services in Bahrain with the exception of hotel, short-term lease apartment rents and certain restaurants which were subject to a 10% tourism levy on the gross income and the 12% sales tax on gasoline included in the price.

  8. Foreigners and nationals of other GCC states are permitted to own land and real estate in areas designated by the Bahraini government. Areas designated are all located within significant commercial or manufacturing or residential districts, specialised industrial zones or near key transport hubs.

  9. The Bahraini government prohibits foreign business ownership in press and publications, Islamic Pilgrimage, clearance offices, and workforce agencies.

  10. The Bahraini government maintains complete ownership over all oil reserves, refineries and related services. Private investment is allowed and encouraged in other state dominated industries such as transportation, aluminium manufacturing, telecommunications and construction.

  11. Tax rates in Bahrain, as in the rest of the GCC, continue to be highly favourable as the country does not charge any corporate tax for companies in non-oil sectors, there is no personal income tax for residents and non-residents in Bahrain, and there are no capital gains or estate duty taxes.

Source: WTO - Trade Policy Review, the International Trade Administration (ITA), US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions

7.3 Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive Programme Main Incentives Available
Bahrain International Investment Park (located five minutes from both Bahrain International Airport and Khalifa Bin Salman Port) – 100% foreign ownership 0% corporate tax (with a 10 year guarantee)

– Exemption from import duties on raw materials and equipment

– Duty free access to all GCC markets (as the Bahrain International Investment Park is not a free zone but rather an integral part of the GCC, products manufactured in Bahrain and sold into GCC and other Arab markets are free of import duties)

– 100% repatriation of capital

– No recruitment restrictions

– No minimum capital required
Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ) – This zone is designed to offer local, regional and international companies a base to operate in a bonded area in order to take advantage of Bahrain's highly advantageous position to cater to the regional markets and to access GCC markets via various means of transportation.

– The BLZ offers the most cost-effective base for doing business in the Northern Gulf. The main benefits of choosing the BLZ include:

*100% foreign company ownership allowed

*Multimodal access by land, sea and air

*Flexible plot options with a range of plot sizes starting from 4000 sq m onwards

*Purpose-Built Infrastructure with an ample road network and plot entry allowances, designed for lorry traffic needs

*Dedicated 24-hour customs service

*Dedicated account managers to assist in setting-up and operating within the Bahrain Logistics Zone

*Seamless end-to-end services

*Basic services such as facilities management and special waste management

Source: Fitch Solutions, Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications

8. Taxation – 2018

  • Value Added Tax: 5%
  • Corporate Income Tax: 0%

Source: PwC Taxes Summaries 2018

8.1 Important Updates to Taxation Information

The Kingdom of Bahrain will be officially implementing VAT in early October 2018.

A 5% VAT will be implemented on many types of goods and services in the Kingdom. However, health sector, education and transportation will be exempt from VAT. VAT will be imposed on the following sectors: telecommunications, water and electricity, traffic and licensing department, real estate, construction and oil, which will be applied to fuels, including gasoline, diesel, electricity, and gas, modern cars from the agencies, car rentals, luxury goods, mobile phones, clothes and watches, restaurants, movement of sales and purchase in the markets.

8.2 Business Taxes

Type of Tax Tax Rate and Base
Resident company: Corporate Tax rates There is no base Corporate Tax applicable in Bahrain.

Only oil and gas companies pay a Corporate Tax of 46% on profits from sales of oil, gas and secondary products.
Social security contributions payable by employers (payable on compensation of up to BHD4,000 per month for each employee) Pension fund contributions which are applicable to base salaries of Bahraini nationals (of which 9% is payable by the employer).

Insurance against employment injuries which are applicable to base salaries of Bahraini nationals and expatriates (of which 3% is payable by the employer).

Unemployment insurance which is applicable to both Bahraini nationals and expatriates (of which 1% is payable by the employer).

Foreign workers levy which is payable monthly by all private and public companies with respect to each employed expatriate (BHD5 for the first five expatriate employees and BHD10 for each additional expatriate employee).
VAT/GST (standard) The GCC unified VAT and Excise Treaties have outlined that a uniform VAT standard rate of 5% with some limited exceptions will be applicable, when each GCC member state implements VAT.

We expect VAT to be implemented in Bahrain from around mid-2018.
Municipal Tax; payable by companies and individuals renting property in Bahrain; the rate varies according to the nature of the property and the payer of the utilities (that is, landlord or tenant) 7%-10%

Source: PwC Taxes Summaries 2018
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018

9. Foreign Worker Requirements

9.1 Foreign Worker Permits

All foreign workers (except GCC nationals) require a work permit to work in Bahrain. In general, if all the paper work is in hand and the foreign worker has a company willing to sponsor them and pay additional fees, then this process is not exceptionally time- or cost- burdensome. The LMRA is the authority which regulates the granting of work visas to foreign nationals wanting to work in Bahrain. A work permit may only be obtained once the applicant has a formal letter of an offer of employment from an employer in Bahrain - which must be submitted with the work permit application.

9.2 Localisation Requirements

Like many other of the Gulf States, the Bahraini government is attempting to increase the employment of its citizens in the private sector. This is known as the 'Bahrainisation' policy and employers have to pay fees in order to obtain employment visas for their foreign employees. Currently, the fee for a two-year employment visa is BHD200. All private and public companies are required to pay a monthly levy with respect to each expatriate that is employed. The levy is charged at a rate of BHD5 per employee for the first five expatriate employees and BHD10 for each expatriate employee thereafter. Further, since January 2015, an additional fee of BHD72 for health insurance when issuing/renewing a visa for an expat has been introduced. This fee may not be applicable if the employer provides compulsory health insurance for the employee.

Businesses are expected to give priority to the employment of Bahraini nationals and some sectors have various ratios of local to foreign worker numbers which they must comply with.

The Bahraini public sector has been one of the larger employers of Bahraini nationals in the past, but with state revenue significantly decreased, the government is enforcing stronger compliance of its 'Bahrainisation' policy in order to account for the shortfall. This is demonstrated by the warning issued by the government in May 2016, which stated that businesses that were found to be contravening the 'Bahrainisation' policies (the hiring of one Bahraini national for every four foreigners hired) would be fined US$800 per foreign worker who did not comply or could lose their business permits.

9.3 Visa/Travel Restrictions

All business visitors to Bahrain who are not nationals of other GCC states need to obtain a visa to visit the country. This can be done on arrival or in advance. While visitors to the country who have stamps in their passports from Israel will experience less trouble when attempting to enter Bahrain that other Gulf states, it is up to Bahraini officials to determine whether that visitor is permitted to enter the country or not.

9.4 Religious/Cultural Barriers

For various cultural and religious reasons, female participation in the workplace is strictly regulated by Bahraini labour authorities. For example, in certain cases women are not allowed to work at night (determined on a case by case basis) and the labour authority is allowed to prohibit certain types of work for women.

9.5 Kafala Sponsorship System

Bahrain announced in 2009 that it would begin dismantling the Kafala system by adopting new legislation which permits migrant workers in Bahrain to change employers without their employer's consent. However, while the system has been improved, it is still difficult for migrant workers to change employers. For example, amendments were made in 2011 that a worker needs to wait one year before legally being able to change employer, in response to recruitment agencies lobbying against the changes. This means that it may be easier for employers to recruit foreign workers from outside Bahrain rather than recruit from the country's large pool of migrant workers.

Source: Government websites, Fitch Solutions

10. Risks

10.1 Sovereign Credit Ratings


  Rating (Outlook) Rating Date
Moody's B2 (Negative) 02/08/2018
Standard & Poor's B+ (Stable) 01/12/2017
Fitch Ratings BB- (Stable) 01/03/2018


Source: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings

10.2 Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators

  World Ranking
2016 2017 2018
Ease of Doing Business Index 66/189 63/190 66/190
Ease of Paying Taxes Index 8/189 4/189 5/190
Logistics Performance Index 44/160 N/A 59/160
Corruption Perception Index 70/176 133/180 N/A
IMD World Competitiveness N/A N/A N/A

Source: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International

10.3 Fitch Solutions Risk Indices

  World ranking
2016 2017 2018
Economic Risk Index Rank 107/202
Short-Term Economic Risk Score 41.0 41.0 44.2
Long-Term Economic Risk Score 50.9 50.7 50.8
Political Risk Index Rank 124/202
Short-Term Political Risk Score 67.7 67.7 68.5
Long-Term Political Risk Score 57.6 57.5 57.5
Operational Risk Index Rank 40/201
Operational Risk Score 63.3 63.2 64.5

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018

10.4 Fitch Solutions Risk Summary


Growth will remain robust in 2018, as rising oil prices enable substantial investment spending from the government and the GCC. By 2019, however, the implementation of VAT and tighter government finances will take a toll on both private consumption and fixed capital formation. That said, financial aid and investment from the rest of the GCC should support growth in the coming years. Higher oil proceeds will allow the government to spend more on infrastructure projects, as part of the government’s Vision 2030 plans. The GCC Development Fund will also provide significant funding, which will be used to finance additional capital projects.


By regional standards, Bahrain offers a relatively streamlined regulatory framework, while also allowing 100% foreign ownership in most sectors. Organised labour strikes are uncommon and rarely become disruptive. Nevertheless, Bahrain has a small local labour pool for both skilled and unskilled workers, thus necessitating the import of foreign workers in a broad range of industries. Overall, with strong availability and low costs of utilities, and a highly receptive trade and investment environment, Bahrain is one of the cheapest places in the world to set up certain business ventures.

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 14, 2018

10.5 Fitch Solutions Political & Economic Risk Indices 

Graph: Bahrain short term political risk index
Graph: Bahrain short term political risk index
Graph: Bahrain long term political risk index
Graph: Bahrain long term political risk index
Graph: Bahrain short term economic risk index
Graph: Bahrain short term economic risk index
Graph: Bahrain long term economic risk index
Graph: Bahrain long term economic risk index

100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Economic and Political Risk Indices
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2018

10.6 Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

  Operational Risk Labour Market Risk Trade and Investment Risk Logistics Risk Crime and Security Risk
Bahrain Score 64.5 58.4 68.5 71.1 60.1
MENA Average 47.5 49.3 48.1 48.4 44.1
MENA Position (out of 18) 3 4 2 2 5
MENA Average 47.5 49.3 48.1 48.4 44.1
MENA Position (out of 18) 3 4 2 2 5
Global Average 49.7 49.8 50.0 49.3 49.9
Global Position (out of 201) 40 44 33 29 64

100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Graph: Bahrain vs global and regional averages
Graph: Bahrain vs global and regional averages
Country Operational Risk Index Labour Market Risk Index Trade and Investment Risk Index Logistics Risk Index Crime and Secruity Risk Index
UAE 73.8 67.8 79.6 72.5 75.3
Qatar 65.3 63.9 63.1 67.8 66.5
Bahrain 64.5  58.4  68.5 71.1  60.1
Oman  63.3  51.0  59.8  66.4  76.0
Saudi Arabia  61.7  63.0  61.8  63.2  58.6
Jordan  58.4  54.9  59.1  59.7  60.0
Kuwait  54.8  52.3  51.7  51.1  64.1
Morocco  52.9  39.8  62.0  55.2  54.6
Egypt  47.8  46.0  46.4  53.5  45.3
Tunisia  46.1  42.3  52.4  46.9  42.8
Iran  43.3  48.7  38.3  51.2  35.1
Lebanon  42.7  47.9  50.0  40.6  32.4
Algeria  40.9  44.0  31.7  39.8  47.9
West Bank and Gaza  33.7  46.4  36.8  30.2 21.2
Libya  28.3  44.4  26.0  29.3 13.4
Syria  28.0  42.9  30.0  26.4 12.7
Iraq  27.2  43.7  25.2  28.8  11.3
Yemen  21.7  30.6  23.0 17.3 16.1
Regional Averages 47.5 49.3 48.1 48.4 44.1
Emerging Markets Averages 46.8 48.0 47.5 45.8 46.0
Global Markets Averages 49.7 49.8 50.0 49.3 49.9

100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2018

11. Hong Kong Connection

11.1 Hong Kong’s Trade with Bahrain

Graph: Major export commodities to Bahrain (2017)
Graph: Major export commodities to Bahrain (2017)
Graph: Major import commodities from Bahrain (2017)
Graph: Major import commodities from Bahrain (2017)
Graph: Merchandise exports to Bahrain
Graph: Merchandise exports to Bahrain
Graph: Merchandise imports from Bahrain
Graph: Merchandise imports from Bahrain

Official Exchange Rate HK$/US$, average
7.76 (2013)
7.75 (2014)
7.75 (2015)
7.76 (2016)
7.79 (2017)
Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018

  2017 Growth rate (%)
Number of Bahraini residents visiting Hong Kong 1,433 -25.3
Number of Bahrainis residing in Hong Kong N/A N/A

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Fitch Solutions

  2017 Growth rate (%)
Number of GCC residents visiting Hong Kong 38,629 -22.7

GCC Markets include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
Source: Hong Kong Immigration Department
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018

11.2 Commercial Presence in Hong Kong

  2016 Growth rate (%)
Number of Bahraini companies in Hong Kong N/A N/A
- Regional headquarters
- Regional offices
- Local offices

Source: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department

11.3 Treaties and Agreements between Hong Kong and Bahrain

  • Bahrain has entered into double tax treaties with many jurisdictions including China (mainland). The China-Bahrain Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) entered into force in April 2000.
  • In April 2013, Hong Kong and Bahrain began the first round of negotiations for a comprehensive Double Taxation Agreement (DTA). Bahrain's Cabinet approved the signing of a new DTA with Hong Kong, according to the state news agency said November 13, 2017.

Source: Fitch Solutions, Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department, UNCTAD

11.4 Chamber of Commerce (or Related Organisations) in Hong Kong

Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ARABCCI) was established in Hong Kong in 2006 as a leading organisation at promoting commercial ties between Hong Kong/Greater China and the Arab World.

Address: 20/F, Central Tower, 28 Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2159 9170
Fax: (852) 2159 9688

Source: Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Bahrain Consulate in Hong Kong
Address: 22/F, Chevalier Commercial Centre, 8 Wang Hoi Road, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Tel: (852) 3171 1199
Fax: (852) 2368 2399

Source: Protocol Division Government Secretariat

11.5 Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents

Hong Kong residents may travel to Bahrain without a visa for stays less than 14 days. To stay for more than 14 days (but less than 1 month) Hong Kong residents can apply for a "Visit eVisa". The Visit eVisa allows you to stay in Bahrain for 1 month. An extension can be obtained for another 2 weeks by visiting NPRA in Bahrain. The Visit eVisa is able to be used for multiple entry.

The Visit eVisa is issued with the following conditions:

  • The applicant must be outside Bahrain. (Visas cannot be applied for by those travellers already in the Kingdom).
  • The applicant must have a passport (not any another type of travel document) and it should be valid for 6 months from arrival in Bahrain.
  • The applicant must have a valid confirmed onward travel ticket to leave Bahrain.
  • The applicant must be capable of supporting themself (and their dependents if they are to accompany them) during the visit.
  • The applicant's entry must not violate the security and national welfare of Bahrain.

Once approved, the applicant must use the Visit eVisa within 30 days of approval. Applicants must have used their visa, or it should have expired, before they can apply for another visa. (It is not possible to have more than one visa issued for a passport at a time). To obtain an eVisa, one needs to complete the online application form and pay with their credit/debit card BD 29 (approximately USD 77). Approval of an application is not given immediately. Processing applications takes approximately 3-5 working days and the NPRA will advise the applicant by email when a decision has been made.

Source: Bahrain e-Visa Portal
Date last reviewed: September 13, 2018


The King Hamad Causeway PPP

South Asia
Location: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain
Sectors: Transport & Logistics Infrastructure, Railways
Looking for: Open for Negotiation