Update on Foreign Direct Investment in UAE


Early in July 2019, the UAE Cabinet approved 122 Economic Activities across 13 sectors to be eligible for up to 100% percent foreign ownership. This is in line with the UAE Federal Law No.19 Concerning Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that was announced towards the end of last year.

These sectors include renewable energy, hospitality, communications, information, agriculture and manufacturing. The full list of permitted activities is known as the “Positive List”. While this is a Federal law, each Emirate will have the right to determine the permitted level of foreign ownership in their respective jurisdictions.

There are still sectors that are ineligible for 100% foreign ownership, and these make up what is known as the “Negative List”. Sectors on this list include the production of petroleum materials, insurance services, banking and financial activities, water and electricity services, and medical/pharmaceutical retail.

The introduction of FDI is part of the UAE’s efforts to cultivate a more business-friendly approach. It is intended to bring in more foreign investment, create jobs, give security to foreign shareholders, and generally make the UAE a more attractive market globally.

If you have any questions or would like to get the full details of the Positive and Negative Lists, please contact us.