Dubai to Allow 100% Foreign Ownership of Retail Brands

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foreign ownership

Dubai could allow 100% foreign ownership of retail brands, new information suggests. According to Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai could allow 100% foreign ownership of retail brands that are deemed to be strategically important. Currently, businesses in Dubai need to be owned somewhat by a local partner.

100% Foreign Ownership of Retail Brands in Dubai

Hamad Buamim spoke at the launch of the ‘How Global is the Business of Retail?’ report by CBRE. He explained that though having a local partner within a retail brand is beneficial, some brands feel as though they do not need this influence. Buamim also stated that the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry would be open to a discussion about brands being completely foreign owned. Buamim went on to highlight that this has previously been seen with Apple and Tesla, as there is a law that states businesses that are strategically important can have completely foreign ownership.

According to Dubai regulations, all businesses operating within the UAE must be at least 51% owned by Emiratis. If they are not, the business must be at least 51% owned by a company wholly owned by Emiratis. This applies to all businesses, unless they are based in a free zone. However, this could be about to change.

The UAE’s Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed al Mansoori, stated last year that a new law exempting foreign businesses from needing to be 51% owned by local partners would come into action in 2018. New rules such as this are aimed at liberalising the UAE’s investment environment.

Currently, there are some businesses that are exempt from having to be partly owned by an Emirati or Emirati owned company. This includes companies that produce electricity and gas, companies are involved in water treatment and companies involved with the oil or gas industry.