United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is the result of the merge of seven trucial states on the coast of the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. The capital of the country is Abu Dhabi – by far the biggest Emirate of the UAE – yet most commercial activities take place in Dubai. Of the population of nearly 10 million, less than 20% is Emirati.

Though the economic growth of the past 40 years was mainly driven by the Oil and Gas sector, successful economic diversification has reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas to 25%. Other thriving sectors include trade, logistics, banking, tourism, real estate and manufacturing. The UAE has a liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment, and modernization. Along with its prime geographical location between the major Western and Eastern world economies, this makes the UAE a promising location for business expansion in the MENA region, or even Africa and Asia. Currently, total trade between the UAE and the Gulf region is worth over 14 billion USD, and whereas Saudi Arabia is the biggest trading partner in the region, the UAE is the largest export market accounting for over 40% of the exports to the Gulf, worth nearly 2,4 billion Euros.

Major advantages of doing business in the UAE include its economic stability and the lack of restrictions on profit transfer or capital repatriation. Financial risks are minimal and there are no corporate or personal taxes. Import duties are below 4% on virtually all goods. Dubai offers 100% foreign ownership in many of its free zones. For obvious reasons, many Dutch companies have yet found their way to the Gulf region and to the UAE in particular. Approximately 200 Dutch companies are active in the UAE, in a wide range of sectors, both multinationals and SMEs.

Favorable sectors for entrepreneurs in the UAE include:

  • Aluminum industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Aviation
  • Biological and life sciences
  • Education
  • Electronics and engineering
  • Energy and renewable energy
  • Financial services
  • Industrial technology
  • Industry knowledge
  • Information and communication
  • Petrochemical industry
  • Pharmaceutical industries
  • Technology