DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has relaxed and removed a range of limits on foreign ownership of companies, state-run media reported on Monday, in the country’s latest bid to boost its global status and attract foreign investors.
The overhaul signals yet another startling change for the federation of seven desert sheikhdoms as it grapples with the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, the UAE announced a series of reforms to its Islamic legal code, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, improving protections for women and loosening restrictions on alcohol consumption.
The dramatic changes come as the UAE has spent billions of dollars preparing to host some 25 million visitors for the World Expo, which was pushed to 2021 due to the pandemic.
The emirates are also expecting Israelis will join the legions of foreigners who have opened businesses and bought apartments in the coastal cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi following a breakthrough US-brokered normalisation deal between the countries.
The presidential decree changing the corporate law helps the UAE strengthen its leading position regionally and globally as an attractive destination for projects and companies, state-run WAM news agency reported.
State-linked newspaper The National reported the decree in further detail, saying the foreign ownership amendments would take effect within six months. Companies could take an entire year to start complying with the changes, it added.
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2020