03 Jul 2019

UAE Cabinet issues a Resolution specifying the economic activities eligible for up to 100% foreign ownership

Authored by: Bilal Snaineh

The Foreign Direct Investment Law (Federal Law No.19 of 2018) (the FDI Law) provided a list of 13 economic sectors which were excluded from being 100% available for foreign investors (Negative List) and formed a FDI Committee which was charged with identifying and recommending to the UAE Cabinet, amongst others things, a list of economic sectors that may benefit from an increased levels of foreign ownership (Positive List).

On 2 July 2019, based on the mandate set out under the FDI Law, the UAE Cabinet issued a resolution (Resolution) whereby it specified a total of 122 economic activities across 13 sectors which will be eligible for up to 100% foreign ownership.

The initial information available on the relevant sectors that are to benefit from up to 100% foreign ownership include: renewable energy, space, agriculture, and manufacturing industry, transport and storage, hospitality and food services, information and communications, as well as professional, scientific and technical activities in addition to administrative services, support services, educational activities, healthcare, art and entertainment, and construction.

We are awaiting the Resolution to be officially published in the UAE Official Gazette, which normally takes a maximum period of two weeks from the date of its endorsement by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, in order to confirm: (i) which specific economic activities within the 13 sectors would fall within the ambit of the Positive List; and (ii) the precise foreign ownership percentage threshold for each of the relevant economic activities should such threshold be less than 100%.

The Resolution is expected to be published in the next edition of the UAE Official Gazette which we are following up closely on for additional updates.


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