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A haven for investors

  • Published at 05:08 pm November 18th, 2019
web-biz op-ed
National flags of Bangladesh and UAE Bigstock

Why the United Arab Emirates could offer plenty of business opportunities for Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is on a four-day official visit to the UAE to attend the Dubai Air Show 2019. As reported in several media outlets, during her visit to the UAE, three bilateral cooperation documents are expected to be signed, one between Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Emirates Development Authority, the second between Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) and Emirates Economic Zone Authority, and the third one is a protocol on allotment of land-plot for Bangladesh Embassy in Abu Dhabi. 

The PM is also expected to have meetings with significant UAE investor groups and business leaders. In addition, the PM is also expected to inaugurate an NID registration program for nonresident Bangladeshis living in the UAE at the Bangladesh Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

A pro-business environment, exceptional infrastructure, diversified economy, and political stability help the UAE to be considered one the most ideal investment destinations in the world. This has also been affirmed by Garbis Iradian, chief economist at the Washington-based Institute of International Finance.

In 2018, the UAE retained its rank as the region's top destination of FDI inflows in line with the previous year when its drew $11 billion, accounting for 22% of total foreign direct investment to the Middle East and North Africa region. 

UAE has several regulations in place for smooth and fair conducting of business. As a responsible entrepreneur, one is obliged to comply with the laws that govern his or her business, protect labour rights, consumer rights, and intellectual property rights, ensure health and protection of the environment, ensure safety, and govern the free zone in which his or her business is set up.

As per the UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL), a foreign investor can only own a maximum of 49% of a locally incorporated company, apart from companies incorporated in a free zone -- in which they can own 100%.

Establishment of branches of foreign companies or representative offices also requires a sponsor, or a local agent, to license foreign companies to be established in the UAE. However, the law emphasizes the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce at the

federal level for license approval and renewal of branch of foreign companies. No trading right is granted to branch offices. 

The law has provided more stringent and transparent requirements for accounting, corporate governance, and the auditing process, which shall apply to all companies, including limited liability companies. 

Companies and branches of foreign companies are eligible to benefit from the UAE’s no-tax environment, and no-tax or extra fees or charges will be levied on local companies or branches of foreign companies.

For establishing a company in UAE, it is essential to determine the recommended legal form, required documents, and licensing cost first. Then, while choosing the legal form, the investor needs a recommendation on the appropriate legal form based on the investor’s nationality and ownership structure.

Then, the investor has to select economic activities using smart search tools. It is vital to choose the right activities for the business. Then the investor has to book an economic name for the company by choosing from a pre-approved set of suggested names.

The investor shall be allowed to enter his own suggested name also. Then the investor shall have to submit the economic license application and pay the required fees. Finally the company can start its operation subject to getting necessary approvals and permits. 

The UAE’s founding values are based on promoting peaceful co-existence and accepting individuals of different nationalities, identities, and interests. It is a country that welcomes investors with care and warmth that they start feeling like home within a short period of time of landing in UAE as an investor.

I think UAE's trend of welcoming foreign investors and investment should resonate globally. 

Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed is a lawyer from Bangladesh and currently working as Partner in FMACI Documents Clearing Services in UAE.

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