04 Jul 2019

FDI Update – Activities included on the Positive List

Authored by: Bilal Snaineh

Following our update yesterday (see our article here) that the UAE Cabinet had issued a Cabinet Resolution (Resolution) specifying a total of 122 economic activities across 13 sectors which will benefit from up to 100% foreign ownership, we now have a copy of the positive list (Positive List). The Positive List sets out the 122 economic activities which were recommended by the FDI Committee at the Ministry of Economy and then raised with the UAE Cabinet for approval.

The 122 activities are divided among three main sectors which are as follows (with the number of activities for each also stipulated):

1. Agriculture with 19 activities benefiting from foreign ownership although the requirements include:

  1. i.minimum share capital of AED 7.5M for the vast majority of the agricultural activities;
  1. participation in the Emiratisation Club at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation; and
  1. use of modern technology in the production process.

The main activities include the cultivation of: grain, leguminous crops, vegetables, pulses, roots and tubers, cane sugar, flowers and blossoms, grapes, fruits and citrus, apples and fruits with seeds, fruit shrubs and nuts, aromatic crops, corps used for pharmaceuticals production in addition to cultivation of other products.

2. Industry – 51 activities benefiting from foreign ownership increase although the requirements include:

  1. minimum share capital ranging from AED 15M to AED 100M (light industries would require minimum capital while heavy ones would require the maximum capital – see below for further details);
  1. participation in the Emiratisation Club at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation; and
  1. use of modern technology in the production process.

Light industries include: Garment Manufacturing, Leather Products Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical Products Manufacturing, Aircraft Maintenance and Repair, Aircrafts Engines Maintenance and Repair, Vessels Maintenance and Repair, Vessels Engines Maintenance and Repair

Heavy industries include: Manufacture of Motor Vehicles, Trailers and Semi-Trailers, Commercial Ships Building, Ships Parts and Floating Structures Parts Manufacturing, Construction of Floating or Submerged Drilling Platforms, Construction of Floating Structures

3. Services – 52 activities benefiting from foreign ownership increase although the minimum share capital investments for the majority of the services have been reserved to the laws and regulations governing such activities e.g. Federal law No 12 of 2014 Concerning the Audit Profession would still govern the accounting, bookkeeping, audit and consulting activities etc.

The main activities listed under the Services list include the following:

  1. Hospitals Activities, which require a minimum share capital investment of AED 100M and would be subject to certain considerations such as the number of hospitals and medical centers in a given area;
  1. Civil Engineering, Electricity, Plumbing and other Construction Activities, Demolition and Site Preparation, Other Specialised Construction Activities, Building Construction, Rental of Construction and demolition Machinery and Equipment, but limited to infrastructure projects such as airports, highways and sports facilities with a value of AED 450M;
  1. Educational (pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education); and
  1. Retail Trading, Hotel and Restaurants Management.

The Positive List does not however set out the actual permitted foreign ownership percentage for any of the 122 activities but we expect this to be set out under the Resolution once it has been published.

The Positive List could be subject to change by the UAE Cabinet. Hence, the final draft of the Positive List can only be confirmed once the Resolution has been published in the UAE Federal Official Gazette.

Please contact any member of our Corporate department if you require any further information.


This article, together with any commentary, does not constitute legal advice. It is provided solely for information purposes on a complimentary basis, without consideration of any specific objectives, circumstances or facts. It reflects then current views of the writer which may modify in time and based on differing objectives, circumstances or facts. A writer's view may differ from views of colleagues and/or the firm. You should seek legal advice on each specific matter. Access to this article does not form an attorney-client relationship.