How to Start a Trading Company in Bahrain

Khalid Khan
May 10
We have been receiving many inquiries lately regarding starting a trading company in Bahrain, so we decided to write a post addressing this topic in brief with relevant information.
Bahrain offers a wide range of trading activities, and the specific requirements vary depending on the nature of the activity. However, there are some general requirements that apply to all trading firms, such as obtaining approvals from the municipality, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the tourism authority.

Additionally, certain activities may require specific approvals from related entities. For example, selling medicines would require approval from the National Health Regulatory Authority, while selling hazardous materials would involve obtaining an Environmental License. Each activity chosen by the trader will have its own set of requirements from the relevant entities. It is important to note that starting a trading firm is not a one-size-fits-all process.

Are all trading activities in Bahrain open for 100% foreign ownership?

Almost all trading activities in Bahrain are open to Bahraini nationals, citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and American nationals. However, for individuals of other nationalities, it is required to have a Bahraini partner who holds at least one share in the business to conduct the activity in Bahrain.

General Trade Activity in Bahrain

Many people assume that by engaging in general trade in Bahrain, they can sell any type of product. However, it is important to note that general trade has certain limitations. According to the regulations, general trade does not include the wholesale or retail of heavy machinery, vehicles, weapons, alcoholic drinks, pesticides, precious metals/jewelry, electronic nicotine products for individuals under 18 years old, or any other activities that require approval from official authorities.

Moreover, within the category of general trade, there are three subcategories:

  1. General Trade - including the sale/trade of food and beverages.
  2. General Trade - including the sale/trade of tobacco products.
  3. General Trade - including the sale/trade of food, beverages, and tobacco products.
To establish a trading business in Bahrain as a foreigner, you will need to engage a professional firm that can assist you with the company setup process. Firms like ours can set up a company using an authorization letter without requiring a power of attorney. You will need to provide certain information such as company names, passport copies, and company capital, and we will handle the entire setup process, excluding the bank account opening process which will require your personal presence.

To learn more about setting up a trading company in Bahrain, you can contact us at