Al Musharrkh: New decree overhauling foreign ownership rules

 of commercial companies in the UAE opens up local economy to global businesses and investors in an unprecedented way

 Presidential decree annuls the requirement for commercial companies to have a major Emirati shareholder or agent, providing full foreign ownership of onshore companies. 

Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), operating under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and the Regional Director of WAIPA Steering Committee for the MENA region, has asserted that the issuance of the new decree to revamp the UAE Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies, which now allows foreign nationals 100% ownership of their onshore companies in the UAE, thereby invalidating the law’s earlier requirement of a major Emirati shareholder in these companies is a strong sign of a forward-thinking leadership.

Noting that the decree was aligned with the latest global FDI trends, he said it opened the local economy to global businesses and investors in an unprecedented way, and will offer a major boost to attracting foreign capital into the UAE economy amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

In a press statement following the announcement of the new decree yesterday by the UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Al Musharrkh noted that the UAE has always been proactive in leading the narrative of economic competitiveness on the global stage.

“This step attests to our confidence in driving further growth in local markets built on the foundations of diversification and stability. Needless to say that the UAE’s resilient legislative ecosystem has played a vital role in offer the local economy the flexibility it requires to navigate novel circumstances, uncertainties and rise above challenges to boost national growth,” he said.

“On the horizon now are opportunities for exciting new partnerships and ventures that will help strengthen the UAE’s relations with investors of all nationalities; we look forward to seeing the positive impact of the new decree on Sharjah’s economy and its diversification efforts. The announcement falls in line with our mission to attract qualitative new investments to the emirate, and at IIS we look forward to being key advisories and consultants to companies aspiring to bring their businesses to Sharjah. I expect this landmark decree to have a lasting impact on the UAE’s FDI inflows,” Musharrkh concluded.

Under the new amendments to the UAE Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies, businesses can now be fully established by non-Emiratis of all nationalities, with companies now having a maximum of one year to comply with the amended law from the time its articles become effective. This can be extended under a decision by the cabinet as proposed by the Minister of Economy. The decree supersedes the UAE Federal Law No. 19 of 2018 on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI Law)