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UAE has in these two years been demanding greater transparency from private businesses on ownership and their structures. Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: The UAE is considering the ‘possibility’ of integrating free zone licenses in the country with the emirates’ Departments of Economic Development. Doing so could help with ‘exchange’ of expertise among free zones and the economic departments, creating an integrated database for the operation of these free zones.

Another unified database is for company registrars of private sector enterprises. Doing so would scale up the UAE’s anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regimes. Under review is a workflow of the operational plan for company registrars, which would thus raise transparency on the ‘Ultimate Beneficial Owner’.

The national database thus created would ensure ‘accuracy and quality of information of all companies in the UAE, unifying the procedures of economic licenses for investors and businessmen in the country and achieving the highest compliance with AMLCFT measures in place’.

A team has also been formed to oversee the impact of implementing a corporate tax when it comes to federal fees.

These measures were outlined at seventh meeting of the Economic Integration Committee this year, which was chaired by Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy. These meetings assume significance given the rapid tightening up of laws under AML, as well as the proposed new economic laws for the country. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, also attended.

Licensing ecommerce

Businesses and individuals operating in the ecommerce related space should also have the required licenses to carry them out. And that also means being in tax compliance with existing legislation in the country.

“The Committee is continuing its efforts to review and follow up on economic legislation and policies in the country,” said Bin Touq. “And propose more recommendations and decisions supporting the strength and sustainability of the national economy. This will contribute to maintaining an attractive investment environment and adopting swift and proactive solutions to address all challenges the country’s business and trade sector may face in the future.”

More CEPA deals
The Economic Integration Committee also looked into entering more CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements) with key trade partners. So far, three such deals have been entered into – with India, Israel and Indonesia – and with the potential to grow the country’s non-oil trade.