Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy (left) with Mohammad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shihhi, the Undersecretary - Planning Sector, Ministry of Economy, during the FNC session on Wednesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Four new laws pertaining to improving economic and investment opportunities in the UAE, are likely to be issued before the end of 2013, Sultan Al Mansouri, minister of economy, told Gulf News on Wednesday on the sidelines of the debate of the companies’ law at the Federal National Council (FNC).

The minister pointed out that the government is working on upgrading major economic-development related laws to better address investment and regulate the relationship between the concerned parties with UAE economic development and investment entities.

“In order to enhance its pivotal role and position as a major hub for international business activities and to improve the overall performance of the national economy, we seek to upgrade our laws to meet the future prospects. Therefore, the ministry has submitted 5 draft laws so far to meet the requirements of the new era. These laws are the companies’ law, the foreign investment law, consumer protection law, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)’s law,” said the minister.

The minister said that the country is prompted to upgrade these laws following the rapid pace of economic development in the UAE.

“At present the new foreign investment law is at the technical legislative committee at the ministry of justice and it will be referred to the FNC by June, 2013 for further discussion by the FNC members when they get back to the council after their summer break,” said the minister.

Foreign ownership

The minister stressed that the percentage of foreign ownership will be decided based on the capital, uniqueness of the project or the company, its strategic investments and employment of UAE citizens.

Al Mansouri stressed that such laws aim to ensure compatibility and relevance to the general economic and social circumstances of the country.

Amer Numan Ashour, chief analyst and economist at CNBC Arabia, told the Gulf News that the new laws, particularly the one on foreign investment will remove regulatory and administrative obstacles in an attempt to attract more foreign investments.

“The new law will include a regulatory framework for such foreign investment and it will deal with the advantages, tax exemptions and guarantees for foreign investors, as well as their rights and obligations,” said Ashour.

Ashour concluded that the draft bills on foreign investment, competition, arbitration, certificate of origin, industrial property law, and commercial companies are now under scrutiny.

The minister declined to give any figures about the expected GDP, saying that this will be announced in the coming two to three weeks.