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13 Feb 2012

Essam Al Tamimi speaks on new legislative measures in the UAE

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What new legislative measures have come into effect in the UAE that will impact business and investment?

AL TAMIMI: There are two pieces of legislation that come to mind that have been very important for the UAE. The first is the establishment the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the second being the establishment of media free zones. The establishment of the DIFC was a major opportunity for international businesses; in particular those with a banking and finance focus. The innovation behind the setting up of DIFC was very unique because what we have is common law applied in a civil law society. This provides bankers and lawyers with the opportunity to work with contracts and a legal framework that they are used to and familiar with in their own countries. The establishment of Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City as a hub for media doing business in the UAE has attracted a lot of media into the region with most of them operating beyond the UAE. This has been a milestone in the development of Dubai. In Abu Dhabi of course, there was the development of twofour54 – the first dedicated media free zone in the Emirate.

On the federal level and local level there are a number of pieces of legislation in the pipeline. The property regulation and rules in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are state of the art, with neighboring countries using these as a basis to develop their own legislation. As we know, the real estate sector in the UAE developed rapidly and throughout this there was much criticism about the lack of legislation. However, by the time the property market matured, we developed rules and regulations for the community that protects investors and regulates trust accounts, to name a few. This is certainly a model that neighboring countries can learn from.There are a number of other regulations in the pipeline including the long awaited company law. The good news about this law is that it will not be put into effect until it meets the expectations of the UAE and the international business community. This will make the UAE a leader in terms of corporate business structures, which in turn, will continue the ease of doing business here. There is also an investment law and a number of other legislative measures in the pipeline. However, the most important in recent years have been the establishment of the DIFC, Dubai Media City, and Dubai Internet City.