Press Room

27 May, 2021

In December of 2020, the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) issued Federal Decree-Law No. 16 of 2020 (“Federal Decree-Law”), which amended provisions of Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 (Commercial Companies Law).  Among the amended provisions are new general assembly procedures and corporate governance policies. Particularly of note, the Federal Decree-Law allows foreign individuals or legal persons to hold 100% of the share capital in onshore limited liability companies in the emirates[1].

The Federal Decree-Law reversed foreign investments policy in the UAE mainland by only keeping certain economic activities, considered of “strategic impact” by the government, subject to some level of Emirati capital. Currently, the list of strategic impact activities is under development by a federal committee. However, each emirate’s Department of Economic Development (“DED”) can issue its requirements regarding Emirati participation in economic activities that are considered non-strategic.

To this end, on May 22, 2021, Abu Dhabi’s DED issued a resolution that included a list of 1105 commercial and industrial activities[2] cleared for full, or partial, foreign ownership. The inclusion of “Onshore and Offshore Oil and Gas Fields and Facilities Services” and the absence of banking and finance activities are noteworthy. The former indicates that certain conditions or restrictions may apply, and the latter, that such may become a part of the federal “strategic impact” list.

Existing companies will be able to adjust their status, provided they comply with Abu Dhabi’s DED regulations[3]. The expectation is that the other UAE emirates will issue similar lists in time for the Federal Decree-Law effective date of June 1, 2021[4].

Our Mena Desk team is at your disposal for further clarifications.