Changes to Foreign Ownership in the United Arab Emirates

In May 2018, the U.A.E. Cabinet moved closer toward allowing 100% foreign ownership of certain businesses in the country, in a departure from the prevailing system whereby businesses outside of designated free zones are generally 51% owned by Emiratis.

This report provides a summary of what is known about these impending changes and some expected next steps. It also examines the likely motivations, and implications, of these moves for businesses in the U.A.E. Finally, it situates these changes within a larger context of other economic reforms and stimulus spending packages that the U.A.E. has introduced over the past month that will help maintain the U.A.E.’s status as the place to conduct business in the wider Middle East and South Asia region.

As always, the Business Council stands ready to help its member companies better understand the commercial climate in the U.A.E. so as to make informed decisions in pursuit of their long-term business objectives.