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DOHA: Dubai is planning to allow citizens from neighbouring GCC states to set up businesses in its territory with a foreign partner without the involvement of a UAE national.
The emirate’s high-profile Department of Economic Development has set up a committee to look into requests from other GCC citizens to establish businesses there without roping in a UAE citizen.
Laws in Dubai currently do not permit other GCC nationals or foreigners to open up businesses without involving UAE nationals except in certain zones specified for the purpose.
Arabianbusiness.com reported yesterday it was handed a press statement from Dubai’s Department of Economic Development about it having formed a panel to study the proposal to let GCC citizens set up businesses with foreign partnerships.
The panel has been led by Ahmed Ibrahim, head of the licensing section at the economic development department. Ibrahim said in the statement that once the committee studies and approves the proposal, relevant rules and regulations would be put in place.
Ibrahim said the minimum capital requirement for the above businesses to set foot in Dubai would be UAE Dirhams 10m ($2.72m) and the money should be transferred through official banking channels.
“Our priority would be to attract foreign businesses that can bring in technology and help Dubai’s economic advancement,” Ibrahim said. “The focus will be on sectors like industry, services and tourism.”
Ibrahim said Dubai would like to attract bigger businesses from across the globe if the proposal is approved.
“We have succeeded in getting a large number of new companies from across the world to Dubai in the past few years.”
Once the proposal is approved, Dubai would see a larger influx of foreign companies and inflow of foreign investment.
Told about Dubai’s proposal, a top official from Qatar Chamber, representative body of the private sector, told this newspaper that the situation in each GCC state varies.
“The GCC is an economic bloc, so the member countries complement each other rather than compete,” said Remi Roohani, director-general of the Chamber. “Qatar considers the interest of the region as a whole,” he cryptically added.
However, commenting on Dubai’s move, a Doha-based expatriate businessman, Mahmoud Younes, quipped: “There is no business in Dubai”. He hinted that whatever new policies and laws Dubai might introduce it was unlikely to help its businesses grow.
“I lost dirhams 200,000 doing business in Dubai,” said Younes, an Egyptian who heads a company called Qatar Engineering Business.
“We are focusing in Qatar. We are doing very well here. And, if at all we have to expand regionally, I would prefer Saudi Arabia, not Dubai.”