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Saudi Law Update


April 2012 saw a number of noteworthy draft laws and agreements move towards enactment in Saudi Arabia:

1) On 10 April 2012, it was announced that Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers had approved a draft commercial arbitration law and a draft railway transportation law. While the terms of the draft laws have not yet been made available to the public, the approval of the Council of Ministers is often the penultimate step before the enacting of a law. Accordingly, it is expected that the new draft commercial arbitration law and the draft railway transportation law will be enacted into law before the end of 2012.

2) On 23 April 2012, on the basis of proposals forwarded by its Committee on Health and the Environment, Saudi Arabia's Shoura Council approved a draft law for a comprehensive food system in Saudi Arabia (the Draft Law).

The Draft Law has not been released to the public and will not become law until and unless enacted into law by a Royal Decree or Royal Order. However, it is understood that the Draft Law:

  • defines food and food additives;
  • sets standards for food;
  • mandates hygienic practices for food handling and food safety;
  • imposes requirements for the packaging of food;
  • authorizes the Saudi Food and Drug Authority to approve foodstuffs for import into Saudi Arabia and to prohibit the import of foodstuffs that are prohibited by Islamic law, harmful to health, unfit for consumption, or produced in violation of the standards for food production;
  • imposes a registration and licensing requirement upon establishments that produce and/or handle foodstuffs; and
  • imposes a registration requirement on foodstuffs that are marketed in Saudi Arabia.

3) On 29 April 2012, the Shoura Council approved a draft agreement between Saudi Arabia and South Korea on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If signed, the agreement will supplement the 15 November 2011 agreement signed between Saudi Arabia and South Korea for the development and use of nuclear power in Saudi Arabia.

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Morris F. DeFeo Jr.
Partner – Washington, D.C., London
Phone: +1 202.624.2925, +44.20.7413.0011