September 2022

  • Bulgaria
    • Bulgaria to Introduce VAT Bad Debt Relief

      The Ministry of Finance has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to the Value Added Tax Act. The main suggested changes are the following:

      • introduction of VAT bad debt relief and related requirements for its application;
      • application of a special procedure for declaring the supply of goods dispatched or transported outside the territory of the European Union by a supplier not established in the EU;
      • introduction of an obligation for providers of payment services in relation to cross-border payments to keep an electronic register of the recipients and of the payments in connection with the payment services they perform for each calendar quarter of the supply of goods and services; and
      • proposal for persons registered for VAT purposes, at the initiative of the tax authorities, to be allowed to deduct input VAT as of the date of the effective VAT registration.

      The full text of the proposal, issued on 5 September 2022, is available here (in Bulgarian only).

    • Bulgaria to Amend State Aid Legislation

      The Ministry of Finance has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to the Corporate Income Tax Act, which would align the Bulgarian legislation with the European Commission's Guidelines on regional State aid (2021/C 153/01). The proposed legislation would amend the rules for applying tax relief for regional State aid which were in force until the end of 2021.

      Currently, a tax incentive consisting of remission of corporate income tax up to 100% is applicable to enterprises conducting manufacturing activities in municipalities with a high unemployment rate. The amendment would extend the scope of the sectors in which the tax relief cannot be applied (e.g. by including the lignite coal sector). Furthermore, the scope of the tax relief would be limited to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

      The new rules are envisaged to be applied during the period 2022-2027, following an approval from the European Commission.

      The full text of the proposal, issued on 5 September 2022, is available here (in Bulgarian only).

      The public consultation will be open until 5 October 2022. Further developments will be reported when they occur.

    • Bulgaria Clarifies Application of 9% VAT for Heating

      The Ministry of Finance has published a clarification explaining that central heating should be considered a continuous supply for VAT purposes. As such, the taxable event is considered to arise on the date when the payment becomes due. Therefore, compensation payments which are due after 9 July 2022 should be subject to the reduced 9% VAT rate regardless of the fact that they are related to periods before that date.

      As of 9 July 2022, Bulgaria introduced, as a temporary measure, a reduced 9% VAT rate for central heating (among others). However, central heating companies continued issuing invoices for compensation payments related to periods before 9 July 2022 by applying the standard 20% VAT rate. In this respect, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria sent a request for clarification to the Ministry of Finance as to whether a 9% or 20% VAT rate should be applied to the customers.

      Lastly, the clarification provides that the invoices issued incorrectly with 20% VAT rate should be cancelled and new invoices with 9% VAT rate should be issued instead.

      The full text of the announcement, issued on 26 August 2022, is available here (in Bulgarian only).

  • China
    • China to Adopt 19 follow-up Policies on Top of the Policy Package for Stabilizing the Economy

      Premier Li Keqiang chaired a State Council executive meeting on August 24, 2022, deciding to adopt follow-up policies on top of the policy package for stabilizing the economy.

      It is noted that an additional 19 follow-up policies will be rolled out on top of delivering the policy package for stabilizing the economy. These policies mainly include increasing the quota of the policy-backed and development-oriented financial instruments by 300-plus billion yuan on the basis of channeling the 300 billion yuan of such instruments to specific projects, unveiling measures to support the development and investment of private businesses and advance the sound and sustained development of the platform economy, deferring payments of government-levied charges for one quarter and encouraging localities to set up risk compensation funds for loans extended to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed households, supporting centrally-administrated electricity producers in issuing 200 billion yuan of special bonds for energy supply, and allowing distribution of an additional 10 billion yuan of agricultural supplies subsidies on top of the subsidies delivered this year totaling 30 billion yuan.

    • China’s convenience stores have high growth potential

      China's convenience stores have considerable growth potential as the sector expanded in terms of overall store count and business types last year, according to an industry report.

      The number of convenience stores across the country exceeded 250,000 last year, with their total sales amounting to 349.2 billion yuan (about 50.53 billion U.S. dollars), according to the report released by China Chain Store and Franchise Association.

      Convenience stores have proliferated in an increasing number of cities, and stores serving local communities have become a major way for companies to expand businesses, the report stated.

      It noted that convenience store companies attach greater importance to member customers as more than 80 percent of the stores have established a membership system and launched online businesses, but brick-and-mortar businesses remain the core source of profits.

      In 2021, sales of ready-to-eat food increased significantly, up 7.1 percent year on year while coffee sales went up 0.8 percent, the report showed.

    • China scales up support for elderly care, childcare industries

      China has adopted a host of measures to support the elderly care and childcare industries to help them overcome difficulties, the country's top economic planner said Thursday.

      Some elderly care and childcare service providers have faced multiple challenges during the past two years due to the pandemic, Su Wei, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference.

      A circular was issued earlier detailing the targeted measures such as waiving rentals and taxes, as well as providing financial support for eligible elderly care and childcare service providers, to help them tide over difficulties, Su noted.

      Rentals of state-owned properties will be waived for micro, small and medium-sized businesses and the self-employed, he said.

      The country has also decided to cut unemployment insurance and workplace injury insurance premiums while deferring of old-age insurance, unemployment insurance, and workplace injury insurance for the COVID-hit sector, Su added.

      China will continue to leverage a combination of monetary policy tools to support the construction of the facilities and the operation of the elderly care and childcare services, as well as to draw more social forces to the sector, Su said.

    • China to promote development of cruise, yacht industry

      China will accelerate the development of cruise and yacht equipment and the relevant sector to enhance the country's modern service industry and bolster the growth of its marine economy.

      China will have an initial equipment and industry system for cruises and yachts by 2025, with significant improvement in the technological level and supply capacity of tools, according to a circular jointly released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other related government organs on Thursday.

      China will strengthen its capability to design and build cruises and yachts, the circular stated, adding that efforts should be made to ensure that the first large domestically-made cruise is completed with high standards and delivered on time.

      It also called for measures to enhance the industrial foundation of the cruise and yacht equipment industry, while encouraging cruise ports to develop coordinated tourism products with tourist attractions.

      China aims to build the coastal resort city of Sanya into an international cruise home port and other coastal cities including Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenzhen into top-notch cruising destinations.

      According to the circular, the country will explore waterway tourism resources of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hainan Free Trade Port, and Yangtze River Economic Belt, among other qualified areas, and tap into their local historical culture, and natural and urban landscapes.

    • China Helps Elderly Care and Childcare Industries Tide over Difficulties with Preferential Tax Policies

      The National Development and Reform Commission ("NDRC") and other 12 authorities jointly released on August 29, 2022 the Several Policy Measures to Support the Elderly Care and Childcare Service Industries to Overcome Difficulties, rolling out 26 measures in six aspects including reduction and exemption of rents, taxes and fees, and provision of financial support.

      In terms of reduction and exemption of taxes and fees, it called on localities to cut the "six local taxes and two fees" to the full extent possible as per 50% of the tax amount for qualified elderly care and childcare service agencies, clarifying that elderly care and childcare service agencies are entitled to the preferential tax policies as specified in the Announcement of the Preferential Tax Policies for Elderly Care, Childcare, and Housekeeping Services, and taxpayers in elderly care and childcare industries are also eligible for full refunds of incremental VAT excess credits on a monthly basis or one-off refunds of existing VAT excess credits.

    • Preferential Individual Income Tax Policies for Nansha, Guangzhou

      To implement the relevant requirements set out in the Overall Scheme for Deepening the Comprehensive Cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Facing the World in Nansha, Guangzhou (hereinafter referred to as the Overall Scheme), the preferential individual income tax policies for Nansha, Guangzhou are hereby notified as follows:

      1. For a Hong Kong resident working in Nansha, Guangzhou, the portion of his/her individual income tax burden exceeding that in Hong Kong is exempted from taxation. For a Macao resident working in Nansha, Guangzhou, the portion of his/her individual income tax burden exceeding that in Macao is exempted from taxation.
      2. The income entitled to the provisions of Article I hereof includes comprehensive income (including wages and salaries, remuneration for labor services, author's remuneration and royalties) sourced from Nansha, Guangzhou, business income and talent subsidy income recognized by the local government.
      3. Taxpayers may enjoy the aforesaid preferential policies at the time when they go through the formalities for annual final settlement of individual income tax in Nansha, Guangzhou.
      4. The implementation scope of this Notice covers the entire area of Nansha District, Guangzhou, as planned in the Overall Scheme.
      5. This Notice remains effective during the period from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2026.
    • China Extends Tax Deferment Policy for Manufacturing MSMEs for Another Four Months

      Upon the announcement on Extending the Tax Deferral Policies for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the Manufacturing Sector published in March 2022, which is showed in below email, the State Taxation Administration and the Ministry of Finance announced today to further extend the deferral payment term by 4 months.

      The deferred taxes and fees include the corporate income tax, individual income tax, domestic value-added tax, domestic consumption tax and supplementary urban maintenance and construction tax, education surcharge and local education surcharge for the periods of November and December 2021, February, March, April, May and June of 2022 (paid monthly) or the forth quarter 2021, first quarter and second quarter of 2022 (paid quarterly), but exclude the taxes and fees withheld and remitted, collected and remitted or paid at the time of applying to the tax authorities for issuing invoices on their behalf. Taxes for the period of July 2022 afterwards shall be paid as normal required.

        We summarize the latest payment deadline for your reference:   Tax Period       Latest deferred payment deadline 2021Q4             Feb-23 2022Q1             Feb-23 2022Q2             May-23 Nov-21               Jan-23 Dec-21               Feb-23 Feb-22               Jan-23 Mar-22              Feb-23 Apr-22               Mar-23 May-22              Apr-23 Jun-22               May-23
  • Focus Africa
    • Africa in Review by the Numbers (September 2022)

      $670 million First round funding closed for Afreximbank's Fund for Export Development (FEDA), which will help to finance the equity gap and support foreign direct investment in Africa's trade sector. The financing is split across four funds: direct equity, strategic initiatives, private credit and venture. (Africa Global Funds) 58,000 Workers likely to get jobs in the renewable energy sector in Kenya as more producers connect to the grid following the saturation of the off-grid market. The growing demand has resulted in companies increasing training opportunities for workers to address skills gap in the sector. (Business Daily) 50% Stake in GlobalFeed acquired by Morocco's leading fertiliser company OCP Group. The acquisition of the Spanish company will help OCP diversify its phosphate solutions and become a leading player in animal nutrition sector. (CEO Business Africa) $734 million Sustainability-linked bond launched by diversified miner Anglo American. This is the company's first intrument to include targets to reduce greenhouse gas emission and fresh water abstraction and create jobs in host communities in Africa. (CEO Business Africa) 8% Returns earned by developers of student housing in Kenya, well above the 4% earned in the residential market so far this year. Undersupply of housing for students coupled with high demand for growth in number of students is driving demand. (Business Daily) 4000 Families to benefit from solar-powered water heaters distributed by the Tunisian government. These kits will help optimise energy consumption in the North African country currently affected by an economic crisis and reduce its fossil energy consumption by 30% by 2030. (Africa Energy Portal) $653 million Rice development project has been launched in Niger to increase the level of local paddy rice production to more than 1.4 million tonnes. The 10-year project will involve the modernisation of production, promotion of processing and strengthening technical capacities in the sector. (Food Africa Business) 15% Rise in toll fees for oil tankers crossing the Suez Canal, to be applied in 2023. Cargo ships and cruise liners will face a 10% hike, imposed as a result of increasing global inflation rates. Some 10% of global trade, including 7% of oil passes through the canal, which is a major source of revenue for Egypt. (ABC News) 200 MWp Solar power financing in South Africa has been secured by Sola Group to provide power to mining operator in Tronox. The $179 million fund is Africa's largest corporate renewable power purchase agreement to date.. (Africa Energy Portal) $5 billion Support pledged by the government of Japan and AfDB under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative. The funds will be used to support priority sectors, including food and agriculture, electricity, connectivity and health. (Food Business Africa) 10 million User base of Nigerian fintech PalmPay. This represents a doubling in its user base within six months and puts its customers numbers in the same group as major institutions. (Tech Build Africa) 500  Mining exploration projects currently ongoing in various parts of Ghana, mainly targeted at gold, lithium, copper and cobalt. The exploration projects are expected to increase in the coming years following recent geological investigations which revealed viable prospects for iron ore, nickel, zinc, chromium, lead and columbite-tantalite in the country. (Ghanaian Times)   Review by Kili Partners . Powered by Asoko Insight
    • Egypt: Ministry of Finance Introduces New VAT Exemptions

      The Egyptian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has introduced new VAT exemptions. Law No. 3 of 2022 amending the VAT Law (Law 67 of 2016) includes the following measures:

      • exempting from VAT input supplies of goods and services to businesses established in special economic zones;
      • defining the VAT treatment of digital transactions, the VAT obligations for non-resident persons conducting e-commerce transactions with Egypt-based clients and the simplification of their registration for VAT purposes; and
      • establishing a VAT refund procedure for goods purchased by non-resident individuals staying in Egypt for a maximum period of 3 months. The minimum amount of purchase per invoice is EGP 1,500. All purchased goods must be exported with the non-resident individuals in order to benefit from the refund.

      The amendments to the VAT Law also include an exemption from VAT for the following goods and services:

      • manufactured foodstuffs;
      • water purification, sanitation and desalination services;
      • pharmaceutical products (and their inputs) and input supplies used for the production of paper;
      • vaccines, blood and its derivatives, family planning tools, sewage services (charged to water bills); and
      • international maritime transport services (not including tourist transport).

      Law No. 3 of 2022 was published in the MoF official website and can be accessed here (in Arabic only).

    • Customs Authority Temporarily Extends Storage Period of Certain Goods in Port Warehouses

      The Egyptian Customs Authority (ECA) has extended the initial 2-month period for storage in port warehouses, the new authorized storage period is set to 4 months for the following goods:

      • foodstuffs with expiry dates longer than 2 months; and
      • foodstuffs with expiry dates longer than 4 months.

      The measure takes effect from 29 August 2022 and is valid for 18 months from that date. In any case, it is not allowed to keep perishable or diminished goods deposited in temporary shops for a period longer than their condition allows.

      The ECA has published Commissioner's Circular No. 65 of 2022 on its official website.

    • African Tax Administration Forum Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters Becomes Operational in South Africa

      The African Tax Administration Forum Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters (the agreement) has been approved by the South African Parliament and became operational on 23 September 2022. The agreement was published in the South African government gazette No. 46959 of 23 September 2022.

      The objective of the agreement is for the member states to assist one another in tax matters relating to:

      • the exchange of information in tax matters;
      • the carrying out of tax examinations abroad;
      • the carrying out of simultaneous tax examinations; and
      • assisting in the collection of taxes.

      The agreement deals, amongst others, with the following:

      • Taxes covered;
      • Exchange of information;
      • Tax examination abroad;
      • Simultaneous examinations;
      • Assistance in collection;
      • Confidentiality;
      • Costs;
      • Implementation legislation;
      • Other international agreements or arrangements;
      • Mutual agreement procedures;
      • Notification of competent authorities;
      • Ratification and entry into force; and
      • Accession, signature and withdrawal.

      For more information, see here. Further developments will be reported as they occur.

      Note: The member countries of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros Islands, Côte d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Eritrea, eSwatini, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  • Hong Kong
    • Government of Hong Kong Begins Legislative Process to Give Effect to MLI

      According to a press release of 28 September 2022, published by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong will gazette the Inland Revenue (Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Order on 30 September 2022. The order will be tabled at the Legislative Council on 19 October 2022 for negative vetting. The provisions of the OECD Multilateral Convention (MLI) (2017) will take effect in Hong Kong after completion of the domestic legislative procedures. Please note that China became a signatory to the MLI in 2017; and deposited the instrument of approval with the OECD in May 2022. Upon consideration of the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Central People's Government of China extended the application of the Multilateral Instrument to Hong Kong. The provisions of the MLI will take effect in Hong Kong after completion of the domestic legislative procedures. Further developments will be reported as they occur.

  • India
    • India climbs to the 40th rank in the Global Innovation Index of WIPO: a huge leap of 41 places in 7 years

      India today aspires to take our ranking in the Global Innovation Index to the top 25. GII has over the years recognized India’s continuous rise due to progressive measures taken by the government and industry working hand in hand. As the importance of the ‘knowledge economy’ grows, innovation will lay the roadmap for development in India. Incubation, handholding, funding, industry-academia partnership and mentorship have stirred entrepreneurial spirit across the country. India is rapidly transitioning into a knowledge economy; domestic filing of Patents registered a 46% growth in the last 5 years.

      Shri Piyush Goyal

      Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles,  Shri Piyush Goyal said that India had come a long way in the Global Innovation Index (GII) from the 81st spot in 2015 to the 40th spot in 2022 today. ‘We were 46 last time the ranking was done. We have also maintained 1st rank in ICT services exports over the years’ he added. Shri Goyal was delivering a virtual message to mark the launch of the Global Innovation Index, 2022 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

      The Minister said that GII has established itself as a tool for Governments across the world to reflect upon policies and their impact. “GII has over the years recognized India’s continuous rise due to the progressive measures taken by the government and industry working hand in hand”, he added. He also expressed his gratitude to WIPO on behalf of 1.3 billion Indians and said that India today aspires to take our ranking in the GII Index amongst top 25, he said.

      Shri Goyal said that Innovation has been a catalytic force for the economy and society. “Though innovation implies novelty, it is also rooted in tradition for us in India. Ancient scientific knowledge including the Vedas and traditional medicine are a testament to India’s innovative spirit”, he added.

      The Minister said that India had established the first of its kind Global Centre for Traditional Medicines in collaboration with the WHO, representing India’s ancient scientific prowess.

      Shri Goyal said that as the importance of the ‘knowledge economy’ grows, innovation will lay the roadmap for development in India. “We have been working to strengthen Research & Development across sectors as amplified by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s clarion call to make innovation our nation’s mission”, he added.

      The Minister noted that agility, enthusiasm and energy of our youth are powering the start-up ecosystem. He observed that India today the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem and is home to over a 100 unicorns.  “Start up revolution has spread across India. Over half the start-ups are from remote small towns”, he said.

      Shri Goyal opined that incubation, handholding, funding, industry-academia partnership and mentorship have stirred entrepreneurial spirit across the country. He said that India had embarked on the ‘Digital India’ journey in 2015 and have set up a goal of a trillion-dollar digital economy in the next few years. “Digitization of Government initiatives and public services has been our continuous focus”, he observed.

      The Minister outlined several areas in which digital technologies are employed from mapping capital assets using GIS technology to revolutionizing payments through UPI. In fact, 40% of global real-time digital transactions happened in India last year, he underscored. “To further strengthen innovation, we have introduced the National Education Policy, which promotes the spirit of enquiry by setting up incubation & technology development centers. With over 9000 Atal Tinkering Labs, we encourage youth to develop solutions to society’s problems”, he added.

      Shri Goyal also stressed that India has taken up structural reforms to strengthen its IPR regime including modernization of IP office, reducing legal compliances and facilitating IP filing for start-ups, women entrepreneurs, the small industries and others. “Domestic filing of Patents registered a 46% growth in the last 5 years. We are now transitioning to a knowledge-based economy”

      Press Information Bureau

  • Switzerland
    • Swiss Voters Approve State Pension Reform and VAT Rate Increase

      In a federal referendum held on 25 September 2022, Swiss voters approved the revision of the state pension (AHV 21). Key elements of the revision include:

      • the unification of the official retirement age of 65 for men and women;
      • an increase of the general VAT rate by 0.4% to 8.1%;
      • an increase of the reduced VAT rate for daily goods and services by 0.1% to 2.6%; and
      • an increase of the VAT rate for lodging services by 0.1% to 3.8%.

      An increase in the VAT rates is required to stabilize the financing of the state pension until the year 2030. It is expected that the revision will enter into force on 1 January 2024.

    • Swiss retail trade turnover rose in August 2022 by 5.4%

      30.09.2022 - Retail trade turnover adjusted for sales days and holidays grew by 5.4% in nominal terms in August 2022 compared with the same month of the previous year, with price increases driving this growth. Seasonally adjusted, nominal turnover rose by 1.5% compared with the previous month. These are provisional findings from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

      Real turnover adjusted for sales days and holidays rose in the retail sector by 3.0% in August 2022 compared with the previous year. Real growth takes inflation into consideration. Compared with the previous month, real, seasonally adjusted retail trade turnover registered an increase of 1.2%.

      Retail sector excluding service stations

      Adjusted for sales days and holidays, the retail sector excluding service stations showed a 4.6% increase in nominal turnover in August 2022 compared with August 2021 (in real terms +2.6%). Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered an increase in nominal turnover of 2.6% (in real terms +0.4%), whereas the non-food sector registered a nominal plus of 6.4% (in real terms +4.6%).

      Excluding service stations, the retail sector showed a seasonally adjusted increase in nominal turnover of 1.6% compared with the previous month (in real terms +1.3%). Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered a plus of 2.2% (in real terms +1.2%). The non-food sector showed a plus of 1.6% (in real terms +1.5%).

      You can find further information in the following PDF document.

      Swiss retail trade turnover rose in August 2022 by 5.4%

    • Swiss National Assembly Approves Social Security Coordination Agreement with United Kingdom

      On 14 September 2022, the Swiss National Assembly (Nationalrat) approved the Switzerland – United Kingdom Social Security Coordination Agreement (2021). The agreement has been sent to the Council of States (Ständerat) for further approval.

      The agreement applies provisionally from 1 November 2021 and will enter into force after all necessary domestic ratification procedures for the entry into force have been met in both contracting states. For more information on the provisional application, see article 73 of the Switzerland - United Kingdom Social Security Coordination Agreement (2021).

      The new agreement coordinates the social security systems of the two states as the European Union - Switzerland Free Movement of Persons Agreement (1999) is no longer applicable in relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom following Brexit. For previous reporting.

  • United Arab Emirates
    • DMCC awarded global free zone of the year for eighth consecutive year

      DMCC – the world’s flagship Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – has been named Global Free Zone of the Year 2022 by the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine for the eighth consecutive year.

      The award, among the most prestigious of accolades a free zone can earn, is decided by the Financial Times Specialist editorial team and a panel of independent judges against a comprehensive set of criteria and a review of the free zones’ ecosystems. The methodology focuses on metrics that demonstrate core growth of the free zones, both in terms of the increase in small and large tenants, and how effectively each free zone provides ecosystems and related initiatives that support growth, business and marketing strategy, infrastructure improvements, COVID-response and promotion of sustainability. Reflecting the leading business district and trade hub that DMCC has created for businesses of all sizes, as well as its central focus on sustainability and social impact, DMCC also received:
      • Large Tenant Free Zone of the Year – Global
      • Large Tenant Free Zone of the year – Middle East
      • Middle East Free Zone of the Year
      • SME Free Zone of the Year – Middle East
      • Excellence Award for ESG Practices – Global
      • Excellence Award for Infrastructure Development – Global
      Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said: “Since DMCC was established in 2002, we have had two core goals – create a global gateway for trade, and comprehensively enhance the ease of doing business for our member companies. This simple yet critical strategy has underpinned our exceptional growth and is why our business district is now home to over 21,000 global businesses of all sizes and sectors. As we continue to accelerate our growth and break performance records across all our business verticals, I would like to thank Financial Times’ fDI Magazine for once again recognising DMCC’s achievements on the global stage.” Record-breaking performance

      2021 saw DMCC achieve its best performance since its inception, attracting 2,485 new businesses from markets including China, India, the UK and the US. This momentum was carried into 2022 with DMCC seeing the best H1 on record, attracting 1,469 companies to bring the district’s total to 21,000. Driving these record-breaking figures are two key elements of DMCC’s strategy: increasing the ease of doing business for companies in the business district, allowing them to trade efficiently and with confidence, and providing the right infrastructure and services that make Dubai a global gateway for trade.

      A world-class community DMCC was also recognised for making a broad range of upgrades and enhancements across its business district, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), to further the community’s standing as a world-class destination to live, work and visit. This included a project that will see all car park sunshades replaced with solar panel shades, resulting in a saving of 7,612 MWh energy each year. DMCC also launched a range of new sports and wellness facilities, alongside landscaping and façade enhancements across the district. Over 60,000 people work in JLT, the 87-tower business district.

      DMCC also made significant progress in the delivery of its new flagship development, Uptown Dubai District. Construction is almost complete at the district’s first super tall tower, Uptown Tower. Demonstrating the significant investor confidence in both Dubai and DMCC, Uptown Tower’s 22 floors of office space have been 100% pre-leased ahead of the tower’s construction completion.

      Enabling global commodities trade DMCC has continued to enhance Dubai’s status as a leading hub for global commodities trade. At the start of the year, DMCC convened the entire diamond industry for the Dubai Diamond Conference, at which Ahmed Bin Sulayem announced that the UAE is now the world’s largest rough diamond trading hub. DMCC also recently announced that in H1 2022, the UAE traded a total of USD 19.8 billion worth of rough and polished diamonds, representing a year-on-year increase of 25%. Crucially, the UAE’s polished diamond segment saw a record 52.5% growth over H1 2021, showing that Dubai is well on its way to becoming the largest diamond trade hub for rough and polished combined. Meanwhile, the Tradeflow platform, DMCC’s electronic commodities registry, reached AED 746 billion in transactions for H1 2022 – Tradeflow’s highest ever six-month volumes. The DMCC Tea Centre and DMCC Coffee Centre also saw strong results with a combined 30,539 metric tonnes of tea and coffee output in H1 2022. The tea and coffee industries are increasingly turning to DMCC because of its world-class facilities, which include superior logistical and processing support for all stages of the value chain, cutting out intermediaries to deliver increased value for farmers, producers, and consumers alike. The global focal point for cryptographic technologies As a comprehensive ecosystem for the development and operation of blockchain and other cryptographic technologies, the DMCC Crypto Centre has seen significant interest since its launch in mid-2021. This growth has continued into 2022, with 14% of new company registrations in H1 relating to crypto activities. The Crypto Centre is now home to 450 crypto businesses, representing the largest crypto ecosystem in the region. The Crypto Centre offers a home to all types and sizes of crypto businesses, from companies developing blockchain-enabled platforms, NFTs and Metaverse environments, through to firms trading crypto assets.   Source: Media Office
    • United Arab Emirates Makes Progress on MAP Dispute Resolution Mechanism, OECD Report Says

      On 13 September 2022, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) praised United Arab Emirates (UAE) for making progress on its dispute resolution mechanism regarding the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP). UAE meets the requirements regarding the availability and access to MAP under the BEPS Action 14 Minimum Standard, according to a new OECD peer review report.

      The peer review process is conducted in two stages. Stage 1 assesses countries against the terms of reference of the minimum standard according to an agreed schedule of review. Stage 2 focuses on monitoring the follow-up of any recommendations resulting from a jurisdiction's Stage 1 peer review report. This report reflects the outcome of the Stage 2 peer monitoring of the implementation of the BEPS Action 14 Minimum Standard by UAE.

      The report Making Dispute Resolution More Effective – MAP Peer Review Report, UAE (Stage 2), released by the OECD's Centre of Tax Policy Administration under the auspices of the Forum on Tax Administration (FTA)'s Mutual Agreement Procedure Forum of the Committee of Fiscal Affairs, said that UAE overall meets most of the elements of the BEPS Action 14 Minimum Standard. "UAE worked to address most of the deficiencies highlighted in the stage 1 report," the report said. "In this respect, UAE solved most of the identified deficiencies."

      From 2018 to 2020, MAP cases were on average closed within a timeframe of 24 months. The average time to close those cases was 15.10 months. However, there was an increase of four MAP cases during this period. However, to be fully compliant with all four areas of an effective dispute resolution mechanism under BEPS Action 14 minimum standard, UAE signed and ratified the Multilateral Instrument.

      The report also highlighted that UAE meets the Action 14 Minimum Standard as regards the implementation of MAP agreements.

      Under BEPS Action 14, members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS have committed to implementing a minimum standard to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of MAP. The MAP is included in article 25 of the OECD Model Tax Convention and commits countries to try to resolve disputes related to the interpretation and application of tax treaties.

  • United Kingdom
    • Bulgaria: Gli Investimenti Esteri sono diminuiti del 13% a Luglio

      Secondo i dati preliminari pubblicati da lla Banca Nazionale Bulgaria (BNB), gli investimenti diretti esteri (IDE) in Bulgaria hanno raggiunto i 924.9 milioni di euro nel periodo gennaio - luglio 2022, con un calo del 13% (-134.1 milioni di euro) rispetto allo stesso periodo dell'anno precedente, quando questi hanno segnato la cifra di 1.059 miliardi. La BNB ha calcolato, inoltre, che nel solo mese di luglio il flusso di IDE sia stato positivo per 158.5 milioni di euro, in calo rispetto ai 202.5 milioni registrati nello stesso mese del 2021.

      In larga misura, l'IDE ha rappresentato il reinvestimento degli utili, il quale ha raggiunto 645.3 milioni di euro nei primi sette mesi del 2022, ovvero quasi i due terzi di tutti gli investimenti esteri del periodo.

      L'indicatore relativo alla creazione di nuovo capitale è cresciuto a inizio anno per un ammontare di 185 milioni di euro, in netto miglioramento rispetto ai primi sette mesi del 2021, quando questo era in negativo per 187.1 milioni. Sul fronte degli investimenti stranieri nel settore immobiliare, il dato registra 16.1 milioni di euro di negativo per il periodo gennaio - luglio 2022, superiori rispetto al negativo di 3.7 milioni segnato l'anno precedente.

      I maggiori flussi positivi netti di IDE in Bulgaria nel periodo gennaio - luglio 2022 provengono dall'Austria (281.9 milioni di euro), Belgio (104 milioni) e Isole Vergini (101.7 milioni).

    • Red tape cut for thousands of growing businesses

      Thousands of UK businesses will be released from reporting requirements and other regulations in the future.
      • more businesses to be categorised as small businesses, meaning less red tape
      • move will potentially exempt tens of thousands of the UK’s growing businesses from relevant future regulations, saving them thousands of pounds
      • start of a sweeping package of reforms to cut red tape for business and stimulate growth

      Thousands of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses will be released from reporting requirements and other regulations in the future, as part of plans aimed at boosting productivity and supercharging growth, Prime Minister Liz Truss announced earlier today (Sunday 2 October).

      Currently, small businesses are presumed to be exempt from certain regulations. However, many medium sized businesses – those with between 50 and 249 employees - still report that they are spending over 22 staff days per month on average dealing with regulation, and over half of all businesses consider regulation to be a burden to their operation [source].

      The Prime Minister has announced plans to widen these exemptions to businesses with fewer than 500 employees for future and reviewed regulations, meaning an additional 40,000 businesses will be freed from future bureaucracy and the accompanying paperwork that is expensive and burdensome for all but the largest firms.

      The exemption will be applied in a proportionate way to ensure workers’ rights and other standards will be protected, while at the same time reducing the burden for growing businesses.

      Regulatory exemptions are often granted for SMEs, which the EU defines at below 250 employees. However, we are free to take our own approach and exempt more businesses to those with under 500 employees. We will also be able to apply this to retained EU law currently under review, which we would not have been able to do without our exit from the EU.

      The changed threshold will apply from tomorrow (Monday 3 October) to all new regulations under development as well as those under current and future review, including retained EU laws. The government will also look at plans to consult in the future on potentially extending the threshold to businesses with 1,000 employees, once the impact on the current extension is known.

      This is the first step in a package of reforms to ensure UK business regulation works for the UK economy. The reforms will harness the freedoms the UK has since leaving the EU to remove bureaucratic and burdensome regulations on businesses, while streamlining and making it easier for them to comply with existing rules, ultimately saving them valuable time and money.

      Press release

    • A hand-up for start-ups: 33,000 new loans for small businesses as £900 million government scheme widened

      The Business Secretary has widened eligibility of Start Up Loans scheme to businesses trading for up to 3 years.
      • Start Up Loans of up to £25,000 now available to start-ups that have been trading for up to 3 years, up from 2 years
      • new ‘second loans’ available for businesses that have been trading for up to 5 years
      • loans to provide much-needed support for the UK’s innovators and entrepreneurs

      An £884 million loan scheme for new businesses is to be greatly expanded, delivering much needed finance to the UK’s array of innovative start-ups, the Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced today (Sunday 25 September).

      The Start Up Loans programme has provided more than 95,000 loans to start-ups across the UK since its inception in June 2012, offering an average of just over £9,000 in support.

      With 33,000 new loans available, the programme’s eligibility will be expanded to support businesses trading for up to 3 years, up from 2 years. Businesses can apply immediately under the new criteria.

      Start Up Loans provide a fixed interest rate of 6%, as well as mentoring, support and funding to aspiring business owners across the UK, providing support to those who might find it difficult to secure loans from traditional lenders.

      Alongside this, a new second loan will be available to businesses operating for up to 5 years, providing eligible businesses between 3 and 5 years old a much-needed government-backed finance to support their expansion at a crucial juncture.

      Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said:

      This government is relentlessly focused on driving growth to create better jobs, boost wages and fund our vital public services like the NHS. Encouraging entrepreneurship and new businesses to thrive is critical to growing the economy and raising living standards.

      From a hair salon in Wales, to a furniture business in Northern Ireland and a cake seller in the Lake District, expanding the Start Up Loans Scheme will support these small businesses through this challenging period and position them to grow - creating jobs and opportunities across the UK.

      The scheme has backed businesses across the United Kingdom, with more than £54 million provided to businesses in Scotland, £42 million in Wales and over £12 million in Northern Ireland.

      Expansion of the Start Up Loans scheme follows the 2021/22 Spending Review, at which the government made the commitment to provide 33,000 loans to the programme over the next 3 years.

      The extension provides further government support for businesses grappling with cost pressures and adds to measures announced by the Chancellor earlier this week, including the introduction of the Energy Bills Relief Scheme to help support them with the costs of energy, reforming off payroll working rules and simplification of the alcohol duty system.

      It also builds on key measures the government has announced for small businesses in particular, including extending the £4.5 billion Recovery Loan Scheme and delivering the Help to Grow schemes, which provide mentoring and free software to thousands of businesses across the UK.

      Michelle Ovens CBE, founder, Small Business Britain said:

      The expansion of funding opportunities for start-ups and growing businesses will certainly be welcomed by small firms as a positive move to unleash their potential. Access to finance is vital for entrepreneurs to grow, and with rising costs and challenges across the board they need all the help they can get right now to realise their ambitions.

      British Business Bank, Managing Director of Start Up Loans, Richard Bearman, said:

      We are delighted to be able to extend the reach of the Start Up Loans programme to help support businesses who need extra support during a time of continued economic unrest.

      This extension of the programme will enable us to work with those businesses that had perhaps just got going when the pandemic hit, or are ready to scale up now that they are back on their feet. We want to ensure that these businesses do not get left behind.

  • United States
    • No Change to US International Boycott Countries List

      The US Treasury Department (Treasury) has reissued its list of countries that require cooperation with, or participation in, an international boycott as a condition of doing business.

      The Treasury published the list in the Federal Register on 3 October 2022.

      The list, which is unchanged from the previous list published on 5 July 2022, includes the following eight countries:

      • Iraq;
      • Kuwait;
      • Lebanon;
      • Libya;
      • Qatar;
      • Saudi Arabia;
      • Syria; and
      • Yemen.

      The listed countries are identified pursuant to section 999 of the US Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which requires US taxpayers to file reports with the Treasury concerning operations in the boycotting countries. Such taxpayers incur adverse consequences under the IRC, including denial of US foreign tax credits (FTCs) for taxes paid to those countries and income inclusion under subpart F of the IRC in the case of US shareholders of controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) that conduct operations in those countries.

    • Biden Pushes for Tax Reform and Relief in Economic Blueprint

      US President Joe Biden has committed to push for further corporate tax reform and individual income tax relief in his administration's Economic Blueprint released on 9 September 2022. The US White House announced the release of the Economic Blue Print in a 9 September 2022 press release.

      The Economic Blueprint includes a worker-centric tax reform as one of its pillars (see Note). Specifically, the President will push to reward work, rather than wealth, by:

      • permanently extending the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
      • making further structural reforms to the US Internal Revenue Code (IRS) to:
        • remove incentives to offshore jobs and profits;
        • meet the United States' obligations under the international global tax agreement;
        • close tax loopholes for the rich (including the Medicare tax loophole); and
        • return to pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) rates for taxpayers with income of more than USD 400,000;
        • closing the carried interest loophole;
        • ending the step-up in basis for taxpayers at the top; and
        • imposing a Billionaire Minimum Tax.
      Note: The President's Economic Blueprint also includes the following as pillars:
      • empowering US workers;
      • making and building it in the United States;
      • giving US families breathing room; and
      • making the US industry more competitive, less concentrated and more resilient.