The UAE has seen a dramatic rise in foreign investment across many industries. Investors’ first choice for registering an entity for offering services trading locally or internationally is to incorporate a company in one of the Freezones. There are more than thirty different Freezone authorities in the UAE. It is important to select the right freezone in the right location and offering the appropriate support and services to the activities the investors want to develop. Different freezones have a focus on certain industries.
For Example, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has a focus on offering a central location in Dubai focusing on commodities trading and support services. The Freezone is known for its high rice buildings and is able to offer high end office space for virtually an size offices required.
The main advantages of setting up in one of the freezone areas in the UAE are:
- 100% foreign ownership
- Guarantee for 15-50 years against future imposition of corporation tax
- No exchange controls
- No import duty free if the goods are not supplied to the local market
- Streamlined procedures
Many Freezone Authorities focus on particular industries and services. For example, Jebel Ali free trade zone focuses on manufacturing, heavy industry and distribution. It also encompasses Dubai Cars and Automotive City, and Dubai Gold and Diamond Park. There are more than 30 Free trade zones in the UAE. A full list of Dubai free trade zones is available upon request.
To operate in a Freezone, all businesses need a licence. The type of licence depends primarily on the nature of the activity undertaken. Generally, in most Freezones a combination of the following types of licences are available to the foreign investor:
- Trading Licence
- Industrial Licence
- Services Licence
As Freezones have their own laws and regulations, accounting and audit requirements can differ between Freezones. As an example, Jebel Ali Freezone and Dubai Airport Freezone require limited liability entities to fine annual financial statements with an audit report within 3 months of the end of the entity’s financial year. However, limited liability entities in the Dubai Technology and Media Freezone are not subject to the same requirements.