With the recent revamp of the UAE Commercial Companies Law, investors, entrepreneurs and businesses in Sharjah can enjoy the full benefits of 100% foreign ownership across 1,289 industrial and commercial activities. This was revealed during an interactive business seminar organised on (Wednesday, July 14) by the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), and the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD).

Held in partnership with professional services firm, KPMG, the seminar titled ‘New UAE Commercial Companies Law and Business Setup in Sharjah’ was held at the House of Wisdom, and aimed at offering insights to business professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors on how businesses can leverage the new UAE Commercial Companies Law when setting up their operations in Sharjah.

Prominent dignitaries and speakers at the event included Mohamad Al Musharrkh, CEO, Invest in Sharjah; Ahmed Saif bin Saed Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director of Commercial Affairs at SEDD; Pascal Cange, Director of Trade & Customs Middle East at KPMG; and Marianna Bulbucs, CEO and Director of Bizzmosis Group moderated the seminar.

The UAE had introduced several significant changes to the UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL) that came into effect since June 2021 and which has not only affected foreign ownership of onshore companies but has also had an impact on transactional issues for UAE corporates. Under the revised law which addresses the need to attract greater foreign investments, new businesses launched onshore can have 100% ownership of local operations.

Against this background, Invest in Sharjah hosted the seminar with the objective to create a platform to connect the public and private sector, address queries and misconceptions about the new law, identify top challenges of investors in setting up businesses in the emirate, and gain relevant feedback and recommendations to enhance their range of professional services extended to local and global investors operating in Sharjah.

Indicator of UAE’s resiliency and flexibility

Speaking at the seminar, Mohamed Al Musharrkh, CEO, Invest in Sharjah, said the amendments to the UAE Commercial Companies Law has helped boost the country’s competitive advantage and attract foreign capital to the UAE. By facilitating ease of doing business for foreign investors, the UAE has demonstrated its agility in adapting quickly to the changing economic conditions by updating and amending relevant laws to benefit the interests of businesses operating anywhere in the country, he said.

The creation of a conducive investment environment for foreign investors, the UAE’s leading role in strengthening healthcare infrastructure during the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent resumption of trade and travel, will lead to a huge increase in influx of FDI to the country by 2022, added Al Musharrkh.

100% foreign ownership for 1,289 activities in Sharjah

In response to a question on the benefits for local and global investors in Sharjah with the updated UAE Commercial Companies Law, Ahmed Saif bin Saed Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director of Commercial Affairs at SEDD, said: “In Sharjah, there are no limitations on 100% foreign ownership for companies engaged in industrial and commercial activities, and this can be availed without a requirement for capital or additional fees. Foreign investors can set up wholly owned companies on the mainland across 1,289 business activities falling within the broad umbrella of industrial and commercial sectors.”

Under the federal guidelines, foreign investment has been prohibited in seven strategic impact activities including security and defense; banks, exchange houses and finance-related activities; telecommunications; and fisheries; amongst others, he added.

Token of confidence in UAE and Sharjah economy

“The new law is a token of confidence of the UAE in the resilience and maturity of its economy and will drive competitiveness across all the seven emirates,” said Pascal Cange, Director of Trade & Customs Middle East at KPMG, adding that the new CCL impacts international companies looking to enter the UAE market, companies in the free zone who are keen on exploring opportunities onshore, and existing mainland companies set up with Emirati shareholders.

He added: “Many MNCs tend to be hesitant of diluting control of their investments in the region. With the revised changes to the law, Sharjah’s leading efforts in enhancing its infrastructure and business environment will position it at the forefront of the selection of multinational corporations looking to set up operations in the region.” 

The Invest in Sharjah-SEDD seminar served as an engaging platform for existing and potential local and regional investors in the mainland and across the emirate’s six free zones to interact with Sharjah government entities to keep abreast of the changes and specific requirements of the new UAE foreign investment regulations and to strategise their approach accordingly. Participants were also updated on the fully integrated 360-degree government solutions offered by Sharjah Investors Services Centre (Saeed) to facilitate ease of setting up business in the emirate with speed and efficiency.

Source: National Network Communications (NNC)