If you thought setting up an import/export or other type of business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would be a difficult, if not an impossible undertaking then you would be in good company. But the reality is completely different thanks to the large number of free zones which make setting up and doing business in the country a real breeze!
And if you’re at all worried about cash flow, documentation, regulation and all the other teething problems which business people the world over tend to fret about when thinking of setting up shop in a foreign land, then don’t be. Some of the best banks and financial institutions are literally on hand and ready to offer all the advice, assistance and funding you’re ever likely to need.
Go online and check out international trade finance from HSBC, for example, or the import services or export services offered by Citibank, or Barclays, or any of the dozens of other major international and home-grown banks operating within the UAE. They’ll also be happy with a face-to-face meeting, too, where any worries you may have over factoring, for example, or documentary collection can be discussed. Talk about being spoiled for choice. The whole of the banking world is there, ready to help you make your business a success!
Free zones, while not a recent innovation, are certainly increasing in popularity across the world, helping to drive international trade in areas which historically have not been associated with the levels of foreign investment and business seen in more developed economies. Known variously as free economic zones, duty free zones, free trade zones, or tax free zones, free zones as we know them today began in the 1920s in South America. Their aim was to facilitate international trade by removing customs and other regulations. There was an upsurge in the 1960s and 1970s in particular which saw them spread rapidly across the world. Now there are literally thousands of free zones in more than 100 countries, employing tens of millions of people between them.
The UAE has set up dozens of free zones operating across a range of industries and services, all offering first-class facilities, purpose-built if necessary, and state-of-the-art infrastructure. You would be hard-pressed to find anything better anywhere. But, of course, there’s a lot more on offer than just simply bricks and mortar.
Benefits usually include 100% foreign ownership of any company you set up; no taxes levied, whether corporate, import/export or personal; 100% repatriation of capital and profits; no foreign exchange controls imposed; round-the-clock operation allowed; three-year residency visas granted, which are renewable.
One of the best-known free trade zones is the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAKFTZ) which has been going since May 2000. The zone consists of a number of parks, including business, industrial and technology parks. It is situated in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in the northern part of the U.A.E. and is some 45 minutes by road from Dubai.
Through a superb marketing and awareness campaign, the RAKFTZ now enjoys a worldwide reputation and has registered no fewer than 4,500 companies from over 100 countries. Click here for more information.