UAE to list sectors for full foreign investment in 2019


UAE to list sectors for full foreign investment in 2019

Dubai - Motivating major global corporations to invest in the UAE's markets.


Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Mon 12 Nov 2018, 1:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Nov 2018, 5:13 PM

The UAE government aims to publish a list of positive sectors for foreign ownership of up to 100 per cent by first quarter of 2019, the economy minister said on Monday.
A new foreign investment law, approved last month, allows foreigners to own more than 49 per cent and up to 100 per cent in UAE-based businesses.
Free zones in the country already permit 100 per cent foreign ownership, but 'onshore' businesses limit foreign ownership to 49 per cent.
"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, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said on Monday on the sidelines of World Economic Forum's Global future Council meeting in Dubai on Monday.
Al Mansoori also explained that one of the main objectives of the law is to motivate major global corporations to invest in the UAE's markets, especially in the fields of innovation, technology, space, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence, thus supporting the goals and objectives of UAE Vision 2021.
"We expect a growth in the amount of investments to the UAE during 2019 to be from 15 per cent to 20 per cent," he said.
He said the issuance of this law, is a pivotal step in the UAE's efforts to strengthen the legislative system that supports the economic environment in the country.
"This will enhance the investment environment and highlight its incentives and elements to a new stage. This law represents a strong start towards new horizons, which will enhance the national economy of the UAE in line with today's changes and developments in the future, especially foreign ownership in investment projects."
Shedding light on the details of the new law, the minister said that the provisions of the law shall apply to all foreign direct investment projects established or licensed in the UAE; and shall not apply to the projects established in the financial and non-financial free zones of the country.
As per the provisions of the law, there are three categories of sectors and economic activities that will be determined. The first are the sectors that are open for foreign direct investments, and which will be known as the 'Positive List'.
As per the law, these are all sectors and activities approved by the UAE Cabinet to be available to the foreign investor either 100 per cent or less.
The sectors will be identified in detail by the Foreign Direct Investment Committee, which will be formed under this law and to be approved by the UAE Cabinet.
Secondly, sectors limited to national investment will be known by the law as the 'Negative List'.
These include a number of services of a special nature and other activities and services that could have a negative impact on the national companies that carry out similar activity; all these sectors are subject to deletion or addition, based on a decision issued by the UAE Cabinet.
Thirdly, are the sectors not included in the Positive List. The law clarified that the UAE Cabinet could approve an FDI project in these sectors, at the request of the local government and the recommendations of the Investment Committee.
Al Mansoori further explained that the next stage will involve the formation of the Foreign Direct Investment Committee, which is responsible for studying and preparing the Positive List and its branches available to the foreign investor; as well as the establishment of a unit called the Foreign Direct Investment Unit, which is an administrative unit under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy.
"The space, technology, and sustainability sectors are a priority for us, and, in addition to those three sectors, we are still deciding on several other sectors as well," he said.
"Right now, our focus is on forming the Foreign Direct Investment Committee from the various emirates, and publishing the Positive List. We are looking to have it published by the first quarter of 2019," he said.

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