CWC Gulf have worked in the UAE for many years and have built very strong relationships with many leading Gulf investors, Corporations and members of the Government. Having representative offices in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, CWC Gulf are very well placed to assist if you are planning to do business in the Emirates.
Long recognized as the leading regional trading hub in the Middle East, Dubai has transformed itself in recent years into a truly international business centre of global significance. Beginning in the early 90’s, Dubai expanded its trading activity beyond its traditional base in the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council states (the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman) and Iran. From a small town on the creek to an international city of architecturally imposing skyscrapers. Today some twenty five years later both Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer international companies an ideal gateway for developing their business throughout the Middle East, Asian subcontinent, East Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, CIS and Central Asia.
A focus on the Emirates
Increasingly, international companies are recognizing that Dubai’s expanded business horizons cover many of the most interesting emerging markets for the future. The region has a combined population of 1.4 billion, and a large proportion of this total will enter the international consumer market for the first time in the 21st century. While oil has been crucial to Dubai’s development since the late 1960s, the non-oil sector currently contributes some 90% of total gross domestic product and is continuing to expand in importance. Manufacturing, tourism and services are all growing strongly, helping to create a well balanced and diversified economy. However, trade remains the lifeblood of Dubai’s business life, as it has for generations.
This long trading tradition, which earned Dubai the reputation within the Middle East as the city of merchants, remains an important consideration for foreign companies looking at opportunities in the region today. It is reflected not just in a regulatory environment, which is open and liberal, but also in the local business community’s thorough familiarity with international commercial practices and in the city’s cosmopolitan lifestyle.As a regional business base, Dubai is strategically located midway between the Far East and Europe on the east-west trading routes and between the former Soviet Union and Africa on the north-south axis. Its airport, which ranks as one of the worlds busiest in terms of transit passengers, is linked to more than 130 destinations via some 86 airlines and Dubai Ports Authority – the operator of Port Rashid and Jebel Ali Port – is unrivaled throughout the region in terms of both facilities and efficiency.
The second largest of the seven emirates which constitute the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is politically stable and is open to business with all countries of the world, excluding Israel.Dubai has no taxes on profits or incomes; it offers complete freedom of capital movement; it boasts a very sophisticated financial services sector; its communications facilities are excellent; and the cost structure for doing business is highly competitive. Apart from its attractions as a regional office location, Dubai also offers incoming companies excellent facilities for establishing manufacturing and distribution operations.
In the Jebel Ali Free Zone and the new Airport Free Zone, overseas companies are permitted to set up wholly-owned ventures and can enjoy an array of tax free incentives, including exemption from import duties, in addition to the favorable investment conditions which prevail elsewhere in Dubai. With these advantages and incentives in place, Dubai has not surprisingly attracted a massive inflow of investment in recent years.
The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, RasAl Khaimah and Fujairah. The federation was formally established in December of 1971. The term of elected office for the Vice President is five years, with the current Vice President of the UAE being Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The UAEs political system, which is a unique combination of the traditional and the modern, has underpinned this political success, enabling the country to develop a modern administrative structure, whilst ensuring that traditions are maintained, adapted and preserved
Investment and business opportunities
There are many options open to international companies seeking to establish a business in the UAE. Apart from forming a trading relationship through commercial agencies, for many companies there are distinct advantages in having an on the spot presence. This makes it easier to research market prospects, make contacts, liaise with customers and see through the details of any transactions.
Setting up in Dubai – A Case Study
Having a presence is also important in the context of the commercial culture of the Middle East. Business owners and people in the region prefer to deal with someone they know and trust by building personal relationship. Another regional factor that adds to the importance of having a physical presence is that the buying patterns of some countries served by the UAE are unpredictable, creating a need for first class market intelligence and information.
International companies wanting to trade directly with the UAE by supplying goods and services from abroad should appoint a commercial agent who is already established in the market. The agent must be a UAE National, or a company solely owned by a UAE National. The foreign principal and the agent in the UAE are required to enter into a commercial agency agreement specifying the products and the territories to be covered by the contract. They should also comply with the relevant provisions of the Federal Commercial Agency Law and the procedures and conditions prescribed therein. It should be noted that a commercial agent can not carry out activities in the UAE unless the name is entered in the Commercial Agency Register maintained at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
Doing Business in the UAE
CWC Gulf are also assisting UAE companies and organizations to invest into the UK and elsewhere. If you are a UAE company and require assistance in the structure and establishment of a UK business entity or offshore corporation or need legal advice on commercial contracts then we can provide these services.
Setting up a business or the branch of a business in the UAE can be a little daunting at first. CWC Gulf can assist with this and advise on the legal requirements. But perhaps more important are relationships. In this part of the world its who you know that can really boost your chances of success and that’s why face to face contact is so important. To build trust is the cornerstone of any business relationship and this can take a long time. CWC Gulf have been involved in the Gulf region for very many years and have an established network with which our clients can gain a superior advantage.
The Dubai International Finance Centre was established to create a regional capital market, offering investors and issuers of capital world class regulations and standards. The hallmarks are integrity, transparency and efficiency. The DIFC offers organizations that reside there a highly attractive investment environment including:
- 100% foreign ownership
- 0% tax rate on income and profits
- Wide network of double taxation treaties available to UAE incorporated entities
- No restrictions on foreign exchange or capital/profit repatriation
- Transparent operating environment with high standards of rules and regulations
- Strict supervision and enforcement on money laundering laws
- State of the art infrastructure, data protection/security
If you are a UAE company wishing to do business in the UK or requiring an International partner for projects in the UAE then CWC Gulf are the right people to talk to.
If you are a British or International company looking to do business in the UAE then we can help.