Robust open and competing economy
The UAE has a vibrant free economy, a significant proportion of its revenues arising from exports of oil and gas. Successful efforts have been made to diversify away from dependence on hydrocarbons and a solid industrial base has been created, together with a very strong services sector. The establishment of free zones has been an important feature of this diversification policy and reform of property laws gave a major boost to real estate and tourism sectors.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked UAE as 25th in the world for competitiveness.
The UAE has established the council of cometitiveness to enhance the UAE efforts to achieve sustainable development through the setting up of appropriate legislative frameworks and the provision of developed infrastructure that will further enhance the country's status as a regional and global destination for investments. The council continues its communication with government agencies and the private sector through workshops and meetings, to help co-ordinate efforts and discuss ways to enhance the competitiveness of the state in areas of governance, the regulatory environment for business and other areas.
Security and stability
Since its establishment in 1971, the UAE has enjoyed an enviable degree of political stability, unequalled in the region. This has enabled the implementation of consistent sound economic policies and the reinforcing of the country’s social structure to produce one of the most tolerant, prosperous, secure and safest societies in the world. Dubai and Abu Dubai have been ranked the top two cities in the Middle East region for quality of life, according to the latest edition of a global survey. Long-time investors include a wide range of multinational companies headquartered across the globe.
Tax-efficient business environment
Special economic zones and free zones offer 100 per cent ownership, repatriation of profit and capital as well as exemptions from taxes. Outside of these areas, significant incentives are being offered to investors and corporate governance provisions ensuring transparency and accountability are being enforced. Corporate taxes are reserved only for branches of foreign banks and oil-producing companies. A negligible 5 per cent tariff is imposed on goods imported from non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, although tobacco and alcohol products are subject to 50 per cent customs duties.
Proximity to growth regions
The UAE’s strategic location between Asia, Europe and Africa is a major advantage to investors, particularly the country’s proximity to some of the world’s fastest growing economies in Asia. Collectively India and China alone comprise almost 40 per cent of the world’s total population and support a combined GDP in excess of US$5 trillion, providing significant economic and trading opportunities.
Intellectual property protection
Intellectual property, including patents and trademarks, is legally protected in the UAE and considerable efforts are being made to implement these laws. The country is also a member of international bodies, treaties and conventions that safeguard intellectual property, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Trade Organization (WTO), Paris Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), WIPO Copyright Treaty, WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and the Rome Convention.
Infrastructure in the UAE is second to none. Telecommunications, including mobile and fixed telephony as well as internet access is on par, if not better, than the world’s largest international business hubs. The road network is constantly upgraded and ports and airports are of world-class standards. In addition, the UAE is creating one of the world’s biggest and most efficient cargo handling centres. To date, the Government has invested heavily in infrastructure development, but it has also opened up its utilities and other infrastructure to greater private sector involvement, so much so that public-private partnerships are now the norm.
Multi-national human resources
Investors benefit from an abundant supply of human resource skills, courtesy of professionals migrating to the emirate from nearly every country in the globe, as well as the increasing number of UAE nationals that are joining the private sector.
Efficient government services
E-government websites, free zone authorities as well as chambers of commerce and industry provide new entrants with helpful information and guidance.