UAE announces 100% foreign ownership!

July 02 2019

The UAE Cabinet has just announced 100 % foreign ownership in 122 economic activities. This measure is set to boost investor confidence and attract FDI into the country. 

The UAE Cabinet approved 100 Percent foreign ownership in over 120 activities spread over major sectors such as agriculture, green energy and technology.

A total of 122 economic activities have been identified as eligible for 100 percent foreign ownership. The sectors include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Renewable energy
  • Space technology
  • Solar panels and green technology
  • Power equipment
  • Transport and storage
  • Hospitality and food services
  • Information and communications
  • Technical activities
  • Administrative services
  • Support services
  • Educational activities
  • Healthcare
  • Entertainment
  • Construction

The governments of each Emirate will decide the percentages of foreign ownership allowed, based on their individual circumstances.

The list of privileges awarded to Foreign Direct Investment projects (“FDI Companies”) are extensive and include the following:

  • FDI Companies licensed under the FDI Law shall be treated as national companies within the limits prescribed by the legislation in force in the UAE and the international agreements to which the UAE is a party.
  • FDI Companies may transfer their returns outside the UAE including net annual profits, proceeds from the liquidation of the investment or the sale of all or part of their assets; and funds collected from the settlement of disputes in relation to their activities in the UAE.
  • Employees of FDI Companies may transfer their salaries, indemnities and entitlements outside the UAE.
  • FDI Companies shall be guaranteed confidentiality of technical, economic and financial information as well as investment initiatives submitted to the competent authorities or the licensing authority in accordance with the provisions of the FDI Law in a manner that is compliant with UAE applicable laws and regulations including enforced international treaties in the UAE.
  • FDI Companies, subject to obtaining the required approvals, can admit one or more shareholders; sell the business; change their legal form or enter into a merger without losing the privileges awarded to them under the FDI Law.

The move towards 100% foreign ownership in the UAE is set to stimulate, activate and facilitate new businesses. Expanding these economic sectors will also attract new investors and new talent into the UAE.

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