In continuation to the news released in September 2018 on UAE to attract investors, specialists and top talents, up to 10-year residence visa and 100% business ownership, the UAE government has released another news that the government aims to publish a list of positive sectors for 100% foreign ownership by first quarter of 2019.
It is to be noted that free zones in the country allow 100% ownership. However, onshore / mainland companies permitted only 49% ownership for foreign investors, which will now be increased up to 100% for the sectors covered under this positive sector list.
The UAE Minister of Economy said, “The issuance of the Federal Law by Decree No. (19) of 2018 regarding foreign direct investment will enhance the UAE’s leading position on investment attractiveness on a global level. We expect a growth in the amount of investments to the UAE during 2019 to be from 15 percent to 20 percent.”
Apart from releasing a positive list, a negative list will also be released where the foreign direct investment will be restricted. This list will cover sectors that may have an impact on the national companies carrying on similar activity. A few of the sectors included in the negative list are oil exploration and production; investigation, security, military; banking and financing activities; insurance; water and electricity provision; fishing and related services; post, telecommunication and other audio-visual services; road and air transport; printing and publishing; medical retail (including pharmacies); and blood banks, quarantines and venom/poison banks, etc.
A few sectors not included in either of these lists for foreign direct investment, will be subject to local government approval and recommendations of the Investment Committee.