ADDED Announces Issuance of FDI License in Abu Dhabi; Aims at Achieving Sustainable Economic Development

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The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) announces the implementation of the Foreign Direct Investment Law witin the Emirate of Abu Dhabi by issuing the “Foreign Direct Investment License” which will enable them to hold 100 per cent ownership of their businesses in Abu Dhabi. The license covers 122 different economic activities related to the agricultural, industrial and services sectors, and targets businesses with total capital ranging between AED 2 million to 100 million or higher.

H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of ADDED, said: “The issuance of the ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ license is line with of the provisions of the Federal Law No. (19) of 2018 regarding Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and as part of the Department’s efforts to further promote positive investment climate and thereby achieve sustainable economic development in Abu Dhabi.”

H.E. Al Shorafa noted that ADDED is committed to enhancing the local investment environment and strengthening the Abu Dhabi economy’s competitiveness through policies that provide more investment opportunities in various non-oil sectors. It also seeks to improve the emirate’s legislative environment, ensuring the most ideal way to protect the rights of foreign investors, in accordance with the directives of the Abu Dhabi Government in attracting foreign direct investments to the emirate.

Al Shorafa highlighted that the new license further consolidates Abu Dhabi’s position as a global hub for investment and ease in doing business, adding that creating the list of investment opportunities within various economic sectors and activities applicable for foreign investments will deliver a strong positive impact to the emirate’s investment environment. He further cited that it would encourage investors, spur business development for foreign companies as well as attract businesses in technology and advanced industries, which all contribute to the emirate’s economic diversification policy.

“The implementation of the FDI law in Abu Dhabi through the ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ license contributes to achieving various objectives such as expanding the base of foreign investments; increasing the size of capital flows; enhancing and diversifying local production; and increasing the emirate’s exports of goods and services,” he concluded.

H.E. Rashed Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, Undersecretary of ADDED, said: “The beneficiaries of the ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ license are foreign investors and residents in the UAE, including individuals, legal persons, and foreign companies that are engaged in FDI projects.”

He pointed out that the current foreign investors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi can benefit from this law by owning their projects by 100%, with the aim of strengthening the efforts of the Abu Dhabi government in stimulating the private sector.

H.E. Al Balooshi emphasized that the procedures in securing the license are fast and easy through ADDED’s Abu Dhabi Business Center (ADBC), which only require  three key steps: submitting the license application, obtaining the approval after fulfilling all conditions and completing all the required documents, and lastly, payment of fees followed by the issuance of the proposed license under ‘Foreign Direct Investment.’

Al Balooshi added that the new ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ license covers the practice of a wide array of business activities in the agricultural sector, including the cultivation of grains, leguminous crops, vegetables, fruits, citrus fruits, among others. In addition, activities that support crop and livestock production, seed processing for reproduction and many more activities within this vital sector are also covered by the license.

In terms of industrial activities under the license,  he mentioned various activities such as the manufacturing of food and beverages (F&B) products,  clothing and leather production, wood and cork products, as well as production of plastics and synthetic rubber in its primary forms, fertilizers, pesticides, and other agricultural chemical products.

Al Balooshi pointed out that the list of service activities that can be practiced with the license include legal consulting; accounting, auditing and tax advisory services; architectural and engineering activities; medical and dental clinics;  veterinary activities; computer programming services; consultancy, research and development activities in science and technology, among other activities.

ADDED noted that there are certain activities that do not conform to secure a ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ license and must be subject to approval procedures through the UAE Cabinet. A total of 13 activities are currently not covered by the newly-issued license, which include postal and telecommunications services; audio and video media related services; petroleum exploration and production; ground and air transportation services; activities related to investigations, security and military sectors; the manufacturing of weapons, explosives as well as military equipment, devices and clothing; printing and publishing services; banking and finance activities; payment and cash handling systems; commercial agents services; insurance activities, medical retailing such as private pharmacies; Hajj and Umrah services; employment of labour, servants and recruitment of employees; activities related to poison control centres, blood banks and health quarantines; and finally, water, electricity and fisheries services.

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