10-year UAE ‘Golden’ trade license: A great boost to business in Dubai

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  • With 10-year licenses, business owners can hope for lower costs – and longer term clarity

The UAE already has a 10-year Golden Visa programme for investors, entrepreneurs, property buyers and outstanding students since 2019

The UAE is considering a golden and silver business licence which will be valid for up to 10 years and five years, respectively.

This was discussed during the Economic Integration Committee meeting which was attended by Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and other senior officials.

The committee yesterday discussed issuing these long-term business licences “at competitive prices” in a way that contributes to increasing government revenues, enhances the continuity of business and economic activities in the country and helps it grow and prosper.

The committee discussed 10-year golden and five-year silver business licence during the meeting.

In the UAE, a business licence is usually valid for one year and it’s renewed for another year at the expiry by paying certain fees, depending on the type of licence the company is operating under.

Of late, governments have expedited the business licence approval process, issuing licences within just minutes. For example, Dubai’s Instant Licence is issued within five minutes for activities that do not need external approvals.

The UAE already has a 10-year residency programme Golden Visa for investors, entrepreneurs, property buyers, outstanding students and other professionals since 2019. This new silver and golden business licences will attract more talent and businesses to the country, improving the country’s competitiveness.

Abdullah bin Touq said the UAE has adopted flexible and competitive economic policies and legislation, which have contributed to creating a competitive climate for practising and establishing businesses and economic activities in the country’s markets and providing diverse opportunities and capabilities for businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, and capital owners from all over the world.

He added that the number of companies in the country increased to more than 788,000 by the end of 2023, resulting in the growth of higher foreign direct investment flows to the country.

Raheel Ahmed, group CEO of RAKBank, told Khaleej Times that this is a very positive development for the new businesses.

“The more longevity you have, the more you can be sure that you have sustainability of your business model. SMEs are small businesses and they can’t forecast accurately as economic factors and business models change. So the more longevity they have, the more they have flexibility in operating without the threat that they have to close down the business and leave and face consequences. People will see a lot of positivity in it,” said Ahmed.

The minister said that the Economic Integration Committee played a pivotal role in enhancing the competitiveness of the UAE business environment by contributing to the development of a distinguished economic legislative structure in accordance with international best practices and proposing policies and recommendations that would accelerate the pace of business in the country and enhance the country’s attractiveness to investors, talents and minds.

The Economic Integration Committee reviewed the efforts to strengthen control over the prices of building materials and address any unjustified increases after the Council of Ministers directed to postpone the implementation of Resolution No. (138) of 2023 regarding the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles and the administrative penalties resulting from violating them.

Industry analysts and top executives say if the proposed commercial licences are introduced they will instil confidence among investors and enhance the attractiveness of the UAE for businesses planning to establish operations here.

“It is certainly a good signal to the whole world that the UAE is opening [up] to international companies to come and make the Emirates their primary home for business,” Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets, told The National.

The proposal was discussed by the Economic Integration Committee this week during its second meeting of the year under the chairmanship of the Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq.

Industry analysts and top executives say if the proposed commercial licences are introduced they will instil confidence among investors and enhance the attractiveness of the UAE for businesses planning to establish operations here.

“It is certainly a good signal to the whole world that the UAE is opening [up] to international companies to come and make the Emirates their primary home for business,” Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets, told The National.

The proposal was discussed by the Economic Integration Committee this week during its second meeting of the year under the chairmanship of the Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq.

The country has also set an ambitious target of attracting Dh550 billion ($150 billion) in foreign investment by 2031 and ranking among the top 10 countries globally in terms of attracting FDI, as part of its diversification strategy.

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