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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Foreign firms upbeat over UAE investments with new law in place

Emirates set to enable certain sectors to be open to up to 100 per cent foreign ownership from the first quarter of 2019

Dignitaries at the opening ceremony of Sharjah FDI Forum 2018 on Monday. Courtesy Shurooq
Dignitaries at the opening ceremony of Sharjah FDI Forum 2018 on Monday. Courtesy Shurooq

Companies are bullish about investing in the UAE and the Government expects 15 to 20 per cent rise in the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the next two years.

Enthused by a new UAE law that will enable certain sectors to be open to up to 100 per cent foreign ownership from the first quarter of 2019, the South Korean government’s Daejeon Information & Culture Industry Promotion Agency (DICA) has chosen Sharjah to be home to its Middle East and North Africa (Mena) headquarters.

“This will be our first presence in the region … and we will use UAE as a vehicle of other investments in Mena. Sharjah investment will be significant and right now we are finalising the budget,” Park Chan-Jong, president of DICA, told The National.

Mr Park expressed confidence in the UAE’s new FDI law and said technology and innovation sectors will be key areas. He also signed a memorandum of understanding, on Monday, with Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park on the on the behalf of Daejeon city.

FDIs to the UAE surged by 8 per cent to $10.4 billion in 2017, making the country the largest source of overseas investment that year for the Arab region, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2018.

With the new law and other incentives, FDI volume is expected to rise at 15 to 20 per cent in the next two years, said UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansouri, during an opening address at Sharjah FDI Forum 2018.

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The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (Waipa), which was established by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to stimulate the interests of investment promotion agencies, says the UAE is now a global front runner for FDI.

“With a new law in place allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership in selected segments in the coming months, UAE is certainly on upbeat side,” Bostjan Skalar, chief executive of Waipa, told The National.

“We were expecting to meet the FDI volumes of pre-crisis (2008) time in 2018 but we missed very badly … still UAE is unfazed,” said Mr Skalar.

Sharjah, which saw an increase of more than 100 per cent in FDI flow in 2017 over 2016, is expecting to attract potential investors in various sectors such as infrastructure, education and entertainment in 2019.

“With investor-friendly regulations, UAE is becoming an attractive destination for the world… We are seeing an enhanced interest in Sharjah and next year will see fresh investments in many sectors,” said Marwan Al Sarkal, executive chairman at Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).

In 2017, FDI inflows to Sharjah were $1.6bn as compared to $808 million in 2016.

Updated: December 10, 2018 05:37 PM

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