Tax Update Detail

U.A.E. Eases Rules on 100% Foreign Ownership to Lure Investment

The United Arab Emirates will allow foreigners to own 100% of businesses across industries as the Arab world’s second-largest economy courts investors.

The federal government will leave it up to individual entrepreneurs to “decide the ownership percentage in each activity according to their circumstances,” Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said Tuesday on Twitter. “We want to open up new economic sectors and attract new foreign investors,” he said.

The new rules essentially lift a federal requirement that has long capped foreign ownership in local companies at 49%. The change frees the country’s seven emirates to open up their industries to foreign investors, many of whom demand full control over their operations. Economic free zones sprang up across Dubai and much of the U.A.E. as a way to satisfy foreign companies that couldn’t fully own businesses onshore.

A total of 122 economic activities across 13 sectors were specified to be eligible for up to 100 per cent foreign ownership such as renewable energy, space, agriculture, and manufacturing industry.