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Business Environment in Abu Dhabi
 
 
 

General

Despite the impact of the global financial crisis resulting in an inevitable contraction in 2009, the UAE economy remains robust, shielded by significant overseas financial assets garnered during the era of high oil revenues. Substantial public expenditure, made possible by those assets, allied with strong fundamentals and sound fiscal policies, has served to minimise the impact of the crisis and receding petrodollar income on the UAE's economy, and is expected to speed up its recovery in 2010. In particular, the government has pledged to maintain its investment budgets at high levels, especially for core long-term infrastructure projects, in order to rekindle growth.

The UAE has a vibrant free economy, a significant proportion of its revenues arising from exports of oil and gas. Successful efforts have been made to diversify away from dependence on hydrocarbons and a solid industrial base has been created, together with a very strong services sector. The establishment of free zones has been an important feature of this diversification policy and reform of property laws gave a major boost to real estate and tourism sectors.

Since its establishment in 1971, the UAE has enjoyed an enviable degree of political stability, unequalled in the region. This has enabled the implementation of consistent sound economic policies and the reinforcing of the country’s social structure to produce one of the most tolerant, prosperous, secure and safest societies in the world. Abu Dubai and Dubai have been ranked the top two cities in the Middle East region for quality of life, according to the latest edition of a global survey. Long-time investors include a wide range of multinational companies headquartered across the globe.

The UAE’s strategic location between Asia, Europe and Africa is a major advantage to investors, particularly the country’s proximity to some of the world’s fastest growing economies in Asia. Collectively India and China alone comprise almost 40% of the world’s total population and support a combined GDP in excess of $5 trillion, providing significant economic and trading opportunities.

Tax-efficient Business Environment

Special economic zones and free zones offer 100% ownership, repatriation of profit and capital as well as exemptions from taxes. Outside of these areas, significant incentives are being offered to investors and corporate governance provisions ensuring transparency and accountability are being enforced. Corporate taxes are reserved only for branches of foreign banks and oil-producing companies. A negligible 5% tariff is imposed on goods imported from non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, although tobacco and alcohol products are subject to 50% customs duties.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure in the UAE is second to none. Telecommunications, including mobile and fixed telephony as well as internet access is on par, if not better, than the world’s largest international business hubs. The road network is constantly upgraded and ports and airports are of world-class standards. In addition, the UAE is creating one of the world’s biggest and most efficient cargo handling centres. To date, the Government has invested heavily in infrastructure development, but it has also opened up its utilities and other infrastructure to greater private sector involvement, so much so that public-private partnerships are now the norm.

Human Resource

Investors benefit from an abundant supply of human resource skills, courtesy of professionals migrating to the emirate from nearly every country in the globe, as well as the increasing number of UAE nationals that are joining the private sector.

Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual property, including patents and trademarks, is legally protected in the UAE and considerable efforts are being made to implement these laws. The country is also a member of international bodies, treaties and conventions that safeguard intellectual property, including the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), World Trade Organisation (WTO), Paris Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), WIPO Copyright Treaty, WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and the Rome Convention.

 

 
 



 


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