• Bahrain Bahrain

Investment is key to Bahrain's 2030 Economic Vision, which supports its commitment to diversify from a petroleum processing and refining based economy. In 2013, petroleum production and refining accounted for 73% of Bahrain's export receipts, 88% of government revenues, and 21% of GDP. It has been a pioneer and first-mover in Islamic finance in many different aspects, and the Kingdom has the highest concentration of Islamic financial institutions globally. Its highly developed communication and transport facilities make Bahrain home to many multinational firms with business in the Gulf. (Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Bahrain is ranked third in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator, developed by Thomson Reuters, owing to its high scores in the Islamic Finance sector as well as Halal Travel and Halal Media and Recreation. In 2014, the Central Bank of Bahrain, which regulates the kingdom’s financial institutions, introduced regulatory changes aimed at ensuring that best practices are applied to Shariah-compliant transactions. Bahrain is also host to a number of global Islamic finance infrastructure organisations dedicated to advancing Islamic finance standards including the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM). 

Besides oil and petroleum exports, aluminum exports follow closely after oil, and the search is ongoing for natural gas reserves as well. Additionally, finance and tourism are strong pillars of the Bahraini economy. The Kingdom is facing heavy financial pressures amid low oil prices and is looking into cutting state subsidies as well as increasing its borrowing to cover the state's budget deficits. Zawya reported in late October that Bahrain's investment grade status could be downgraded to "junk" as early as 2016 as the country's fiscal situation becomes increasingly fragile, citing a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The big three rating agencies -- Moody's, S&P and Fitch -- now rate Bahrain at BBB-. Fitch recently brought Bahrain's outlook to stable, but Moody's and S&P have maintained the outlook on negative.


GIEI Ranking3
Halal Ranking2nd in Global Islamic Economy Islamic Finance Indicator (State of the Global Islamic Economy 2014/2015) 14th in Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI 2015)/Crescentrating
Major Industries


Petroleum Products




Crude Petroleum





Source: Central Intelligence Agency




Halal-related agencies Intro

Bahrain Standards and Metrology Directorate, Ministry of Industry & Commerce

(Food is regulated by the Ministry of Health)

 Standards and Metrology Directorate (BSMD) is the recognized national Standards Body of Bahrain under provision of Legislative Decree No. 16 of 1985, with respect to standards and metrology. 

The Directorate functions under the Ministry of Industry & Commerce and is governed by a National Committee for Standards & Metrology that is chaired by the Minister of and comprised of representatives of governmental authorities, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry and independent technical experts. 

BSMD prepares, revises, amends and publishes the approved Bahraini Technical Regulations and conformity assessments to meet the national requirements for human health, safety and environment protection in line with the international practices in this role. 

BSMD also prepares, revises, amends and publishes the approved Bahraini national standards to meet international demands for quality, design, performance, safety and environmental impact of products and services. It also accepts and adopts , as appropriate the technical regulations, standards, guides, recommendations of other foreign countries and of regional (Gulf and Arab States) and international organizations.

BSMD function span all other standardization activities namely Standards Development, Quality, Metrology and Standards Information services. (Source: Bahrain Standards and Metrology Directorate)


Halal compliance guidelines Intro
Ministry of Health


The Ministry of Health is the licensor for all healthcare establishments and pharmacies. In addition, the Ministry’s Public Health Directorate is responsible for approving the premises and setting the health conditions for certain commercial establishments, such as food industries, food-serving businesses, cosmetics and health products manufacturing and animal breeding facilities. The Public Health Directorate is represented at the BIC and liaises between the investor and the Ministry in the approval process.

@ The Ministry of Health representatives at the BIC may be reached at Tel: (+973) 17562245; Fax: (+973) 17581339

Source: Bahrain Investors Center

Halal-related trade and trading

Private Sector Partners

Ahli United Bank

Al-Ahli bank at the BIC provides Investors with a wide range of banking products and services,such as corporate or commercial banking, trade finance, treasury and retail banking services.

@ Ahli United Bank’s representative at the BIC may be reached at Tel: (+973) 17562266; Fax: (+973) 17580752; Email:Fatima.jameel@ahliunited.com, talat.khorrami@ahliunited.com

Public Sector Partners

Labour Market Regulatory Authority

Minstry of Electricity & Water

Ministry of Interior

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Information

Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture

Investment and Export Promotion Agencies Intro

The Kingdom of Bahrain was rated in the first position among Middle East countries and in the twelfth position internationally in the Economic Freedom Index 2013 compiled by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal as a result of the Kingdom of Bahrain's commitment to maintaining a business environment considered among the most liberated in the Middle East, the waiving of taxes on private companies, in addition to the freedom of capital transfer. The Kingdom of Bahrain also allows foreigners to own business and real estate assets in a majority of the economic sectors, which sets the Kingdom of Bahrain apart from all the region's other states.

Bahrain enjoys a unique record as the oldest and most developed international business ecomony in addition to a financial services sector that flourised over the past forty years, making it among the most advanced Gulf financial markets according to the 2011-2012 World Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum.

Low costs are considered one of the key advantages enjoyed by the Kingdom of Bahrain with the lowest rent rates in the region for offices and industrial plots in addition to mixing privatization and subsidization in the public utilities sector which directly reflects on the costs of electricity, gas, and water which are very competitive and which is also reflected on workers' wages.

The Bahraini workforce is among the most educated and experienced in the Gulf region. This minimizes the burden on investors to recruit and retain foreign expertise and in turn, contributes to building an experienced and committed local work team which is retainable in the long run.

Also among the additional advantages Bahrain offers to investors are:

  • The freedom to repatriate and transfer profits and capitals.
  • The freedom to import and export local and foreign currencies.
  • No income, capital, sales, real estate, interest, stipends or concession rights taxes.
  • Bahrain hosts the GCC Commercial Arbitration Center, which settles commercial disputes between GCC citizens provided that the value of the dispute is higher than BD 15,000.
  • The Kingdom of Bahrain allows foreigners to own 100% of a majority of business activities. (Source: Kingdom of Bahrain eGovernment Portal)
Investment and Export Promotion Agencies Names Bahrain Economic Development Board
Trade Agreement

US-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2006, the first between the U.S. and a Gulf state.

Company ownership limits
(foreign and local)

100% foreign ownership of business is allowed. Sector-specific and/or company type restrictions may apply.