Doing Business with UAE

This is the part of our series of country specific articles. This month, we’re putting the spotlight on UAE. Read on for some facts and tips on doing business with UAE!

United Arab Emirates

The UAE enjoys a good economic industrial and commercial position thanks to the UAE’s interest in diversifying its sources of income and not depend on oil. Consequently, the investment revenues in the UAE became one of


the highest in the world, Articles 11 and 12 of the UAE constitution have stipulated how to organize economic laws and rules including the free movement of capital and the transit of goods etc.

General Facts:

Population: 8.26 Millions
Capital: Abu Dhabi
President: H.H Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Currency: UAE Dirham 1 Dirham = 100 Fils – 1 Dollar = 3.67 Dirham appr.
Main exports: Crude oil, natural gas, dried fish.
Main imports: Machinery and transport equipment,chemicals, food.

What you need to know before shipping to the United Arab Emirates

Any goods being imported through either land, sea or air customs zones shall be subject to the following specific general customs procedures:
¨ Submit a detailed customs declaration as per the approved form including all information about the goods and accompanied with all documents required.
¨ Declaration of goods and cash for passengers.
¨ Register customs declaration with the competent customs officer.
¨ Transfer goods to examination, checking and inspection.
¨ Evaluate goods for the purposes of payment of customs duties.
¨ Release of goods


Import of goods from outside the country into local market.
Transactional processing:
¨ Receive and check the documents required for customs declaration processing.
¨ Implement customs tariff and regulations.
¨ Collect customs duties and registration fees.
¨ Deliver client’s own copies and retain customs copy.

Why invest in Dubai?
Dubai leads the region in culture, tourism and shopping, and attracts people from all over the world who are potential users of healthcare services

Dubai International Airport claims the dual titles of the world’s fastest growing airport and the world’s sixth busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic, handling 41 million international passengers in 2009. More than 130 international airlines offer freight and passenger services, including United Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Dubai’s international carrier, Emirates. Emirates Airlines operates from the newly opened world-class Terminal 3, that is currently capable of handling 27 million passengers a year.
Jebel Ali Port is the world’s largest man-made port, and estimated more than a 40% increase in its cargo container throughput from 2008 to 2009. Dubai’s ports are served by more than 242 shipping lines. The 19% growth in the UAE ports alone matched the average set by the Middle East, Europe and Africa put together.
There are numerous existing Free Trade Zones in Dubai that provide industry-specific market infrastructure and tax incentives for industries such as:

  • Financial Services & Commodities – Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.
  • Healthcare – Dubai Health Care City.
  • Media & Technology – Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai.
  • Biotechnology & Research Park.
  • Education & Universities – Academic City and Knowledge Village.
  • Textiles & Logistics – Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai Logistics City.
  • Dubai Outsource Zone.
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone.
  • Some benefits of Dubai’s Free Trade Zones include ready-made offices, factories, warehouses, and easy start-up and licensing procedures.

The Dubai Metro is one of the most advanced rail systems in the world, with its driverless and fully automated trains. It connects some of Dubai’s shopping centers, as well as tourist hotspots and the airport

Trade & Investment
Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade grew 38% in 2008 to AED 934.7 billion (US $254.7 billion).
Dubai has emerged as a Forex and Derivatives hub through the initiatives of the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange.
Dubai is a regional hub for trade and investment of commodities such as gold & precious metals, diamonds & colored stones, energy (fuel trading & natural gas), tea, as well as pearls and fashion jewellery, which alone accounted for 26.5% of UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in 2008.

Dubai does not impose any personal income tax, capital gains tax or withholding tax. However, all companies are required by law to pay tax on their earnings, up to a maximum of 55 percent. In practice however, only oil-producing companies and branches of foreign banks are required to pay a corporate tax.
Dubai’s Free Trade Zones carry many attractive financial incentives, such as exemption from corporate taxes for 15 years or more, 100% foreign ownership, no personal income taxes, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no minimum capital investment and no need for a local partner.
Sources: The National “Dubai world’s sixth busiest airport” 30/4/08, Dubai Airports Report 13/1/10, World Port Source, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre website 1/4/10, Al Tamimi & Co. Taxation Law in the UAE Report & Dubai Government Portal website 11/4/10.

Nearly 7 million tourists visited Dubai in 2007 and 3.85 million in the first half of 2009.
The hospitality and tourism industry is responsible for about 18% of Dubai’s GDP.
Dubai has a number of attractions & events that promote tourism. Dubai hosts various art & culture festivals, such as the Dubai International Film Festival and Dubai Jazz Festival, and sporting events like the Dubai Golf Desert Classic, Formula 1 Race (Abu Dhabi), Rugby 7’s, Dubai World Cup of Horse Racing and international cricket matches.
Other popular attractions include the Dubai Shopping Festival, Desert Safari, Burj Khalifa (previously known as Burj Dubai), Ski Dubai, numerous beach resorts, Global Village and various shopping malls, including the world’s largest, Dubai Mall.
The tourist infrastructure in Dubai is one of the best in the world with a whole range of world-class hotels, including Raffles Dubai, Atlantis The Palm, The Kempinski, The Armani Hotel, Jumeirah Hotels and Burj al-Arab.

Quality of Life
The UAE was ranked #1 as the country with the best quality of life in the MENA region, and 15th in the world out of 160 countries.
In addition to its strong infrastructure of telecommunications, roads and airports, the UAE received its ranking based on its numerous consumer and recreational facilities, public infrastructure, safety and virtually crime-free, tolerant society.
The UAE is also known for its world-class entertainment, luxurious leisure facilities and excellent value shopping.

Given the quality of life and companies here, Dubai attracts among the best talent pool in the Middle East, with over 195 nationalities represented.
Many major multinational companies have offices located in Dubai, including Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia, Sony, Boeing, Price waterhouse Coopers, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Shell, Emirates Airlines, Proctor & Gamble, Adidas and BBC World.
Many internationally renowned universities have campuses located in Dubai, such as the American University, Michigan State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Wollongong University, London School of Economics, London School of Business and Hult International Business School.

Export Edge are specialists in managing client Letters of Credit contracts with UAE to ensure secure and prompt payment.

Call us on 01 676 6894 for a confidential discussion and to arrange an initial credit payment analysis (free of charge) for the Middle East, African, Asian and other emerging growth markets. 

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