UAE to approve law allowing 100% foreign ownership of companies by year-end

Previous attempts to introduce the legislation have been met with opposition from some Emiratis



The UAE is expected to approve a new investment law allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership in some sectors by year-end, a government official has said.

Economy minister Sultan Al Mansoori confirmed the plans in an interview with The National.

The new law, which will liberalise sectors selected by the government including manufacturing and the service industries, is expected to boost foreign investment inflows by up to 15 per cent, he said.

“It will be this year, I can assure you, the latest will be Q4,” Al Mansoori was quoted as saying. “I am optimistic, it is critical that we finish the investment law this year.”

A final draft of the law has been sent to the UAE Cabinet for approval.

Al Mansoori said he expected to UAE to attract $10.6bn-$10.8bn in foreign investment this year from $10.3bn last year

“It’s a marginal increase but we have to take into consideration the current situation and atmosphere in the world right now. The environment is sometimes challenging,” he was quoted as saying.

The UAE is introducing legislation to increase the contribution of the non-oil sector to the country from 70 per cent to 80 per cent by 2021.

For now, foreign companies can only operate in the UAE by partnering with a local entity unless they are based in certain free zones.

Read: UAE Drafting Law For 100% Foreign Ownership Of Firms – Minister

Previous attempts to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership have been met by opposition from the consultative Federal National Council and other bodies due to concerns it will negatively impact Emirati businesses.

Read: UAE Rejects Easing Of Foreign Ownership Rules