UAE approves full foreign ownership of firms

The UAE said Tuesday (July 2nd) it had decided to lift a decades-old cap on foreign ownership and allow full foreign control of business ventures, AFP reported.

"In a cabinet meeting I chaired in Abu Dhabi, we approved 100% foreign ownership in 122 economic activities," UAE vice president and prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum said in a social media post.

The move covers "fields including agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, e-commerce, transportation, arts, construction and entertainment", he added.

The decision abolishes a decades-old law that limits foreign ownership to 49%.

The seven Sheikhdoms that comprise the UAE will have the discretion to specify their own ceilings for foreign ownership of key business sectors, a government statement said.

To dodge the 49% limit, some emirates led by Dubai have long established free trade zones where foreigners can own up to 100% of their business.

Sheikh Mohammed said Tuesday's decision opens the UAE economy to all nationalities so as "to make it one of the best destinations for global investments".

The cabinet decision essentially opens up 13 major economic sectors in the Arab world's second largest and most diversified economy.

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