UAE allows 100 pct foreign ownership of companies without need for Emirati partner

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Foreigners are now able to own 100 percent of their companies without requiring an Emirati shareholder as part of the UAE’s plan to open up its economy to all nationalities, state news agency WAM reported on Monday.

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed’s decree, amending the UAE’s company law, “annuls the requirement for commercial companies to have a major Emirati shareholder or agent, providing full foreign ownership of onshore companies,” WAM reported.

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“Under the new amendments, businesses can now be fully established by non-Emiratis of all nationalities, with companies now having a maximum of one year to comply with the amended law from the time its articles become effective.”

In 2018, the UAE had approved a new law which allows for 100 percent ownership of UAE-based businesses by foreign investors in specific sectors.

Those sectors included manufacturing, agriculture, renewable energy, industrial, services, space, transport and storage, hospitality and food services, information and communications, educational activities, healthcare, art and entertainment, and construction.

Previously, foreigners generally could not own more than 49 percent of any UAE firm unless it was incorporated in designated business “free zone”.

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