In a momentous declaration on the 116th National Day, His Majesty ushered Bhutan into a new era, one marked by economic development and a steadfast commitment to prosperity. The establishment of the Gelephu Special Administrative Region (SAR) stands as a testament to the nation’s resolve to create a vibrant economic hub grounded in Bhutanese values, Gross National Happiness (GNH) principles, and spiritual ethos.
The Gelephu Mindfulness City, as it is aptly named, distinguishes itself through its commitment to mindfulness and sustainable business practices, ensuring that economic growth becomes a boon not just for the city but for the entire nation. The positive repercussions of this visionary initiative extend to all corners of Bhutan, benefiting farmers, creating job opportunities with international salary scales, and providing a platform for the showcase of local products and talents.
His Majesty emphasized, “The SAR will have the autonomy to formulate laws and policies that are needed. It will have executive autonomy and legal independence.” Crafting a robust legal framework is pivotal for the success of this endeavor, aiming to facilitate commerce rather than hinder it. Business-friendly commercial laws, including those governing company, contract, investment, trust, intellectual property, trade, finance, insolvency, banking, and insurance, modeled on international standards, are deemed essential.
This autonomy not only reflects Bhutan’s commitment to preserving its unique identity but is also a strategic move to attract investors seeking stability, transparency, and a legal framework conducive to business growth. Gelephu aims to insulate itself from external influences, ensuring the sanctity of its legal processes and overall business environment.
Investors, both domestic and international, seek assurance that disputes will be resolved impartially and efficiently. Therefore, the Gelephu SAR plans to implement a dedicated dispute resolution system, instilling confidence in investors and encouraging their active contribution to the city’s growth without the fear of prolonged legal battles.
This unique legal framework requires collaboration from Bhutan’s legal fraternity and legislatures. While international law firms have been engaged to draw up contracts and set up the legal system, local expertise is equally crucial. Bhutan can draw inspiration from successful examples of special zones with unique legal systems worldwide.
The combination of this innovative legal framework and the city’s commitment to mindfulness and sustainable development emerges as a cornerstone for ensuring economic success and leaving a lasting legacy for Bhutanese generations. His Majesty’s personal investment underscores the importance of legal innovation in propelling the city towards unparalleled success, making it a testament to the enduring progress of Bhutan. As His Majesty aptly stated, the success of this city is a shared responsibility, embodying the collective aspirations of the Bhutanese people for a prosperous and harmonious future.