Following the introduction in 2003 of the Regulations for Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) Offshore Companies, international companies can establish JAFZ offshore companies, with benefits similar to other international offshore jurisdictions. Ras Al Khaimah has, since 2006, allowed for the establishment of offshore companies.
Public Sector Procurement
Each Emirate has specific provisions regulating government procurement activities. Public sector work is generally awarded on the basis of the Public Tenders Law, which prescribes minimum standards in relation to government procurement across the UAE. Public defense contracts have their own set of industry-specific rules.
Specialized Economic Zones: The UAE has specialized economic zones, such as those established by ZonesCorp in Abu Dhabi, which offer investment incentives such as certain reductions on infrastructure costs, administrative support, simplified approvals processes and residential cities for workers. Companies situated in specialized economic zones are subject to the requirements of the UAE Commercial Companies Law (including the 51% UAE participation requirement described above).
Dubai Fast-Track License
The Emirate of Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is offering a fast-track trade license that will be valid for 120 days, giving businesses time to not only complete official licensing paperwork and registration but also allow them to hire employees, test products, and establish new ventures. A valid rental contract and business owner’s work history are prerequisites for the license. To learn more, contact the Dubai Department of Economic Development.
Last, as in any business venture, it is sensible to exercise due diligence on everything from the industry you are thinking of entering in the UAE, to the potential partner being considered. Since the above is meant to serve as a general guide, we recommend that your company contact one of the many UAE-based legal or consultancy firms (some of which are offices of major Canadian law firms) and have them support your due diligence effort and better guide you as to which approach may be best in your specific case.