Committee to decide on UAE industries open to full foreign ownership

Foreigners are set to be allowed to own up to 100 percent of onshore UAE companies following a directive announced this week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Committee to decide on UAE industries open to full foreign ownership

  • Committee of representatives from UAE's seven emirates to decide on which industries are open to 100 percent foreign ownership.
  • Undersecretary for foreign trade & industry tells Bloomberg that new law's goal “is to attract quality investments and expertise and isn’t necessarily about the size or number of investments.”

LONDON: The UAE’s new law enabling foreigners to own 100 percent of onshore companies will be limited to specific industries deemed essential to the country’s economy, according to a senior government official.
Abdulla Al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade & industry at the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, told Bloomberg that a final decision had not been taken on what industries to include in this week’s landmark decision to allow foreigners to fully own non-free zone companies.
Al-Saleh said a committee — made up of representatives of the country’s seven emirates — would make a decision on which industries to initially include, and would add further industries and companies in the future.
The law’s goal “is to attract quality investments and expertise and isn’t necessarily about the size or number of investments,” he said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.
The UAE’s Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said the ownership changes — as well as longer visas for selected students and selected professions — would be put implemented by the end of the year.
The move to extend foreign ownership has been welcomed by economists, even as key details have yet to be announced.
“The eligibility and the extensiveness of the investment liberalization will be critical to gauge the support to the economy,” Monica Malik, the chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, told Arab News on Thursday.
“Recent official comments indicated that the area of focus will likely be on factors such as job creation and technology transfer.”
Such a theme is in keeping with the UAE’s move to allow visas for up to 10 years for specialists working in medical, scientific, research and technical sectors, alongside 5-year student visas and 10-year visas for “exceptional” students.
Longer visa terms are predicted to especially impact the local real estate sector, which has languished in recent years thanks to increasing supply and sluggish economic conditions.


US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

Updated 42 min 47 sec ago
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US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

  • The Wall Street Journal said the US justice department is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners
  • Huawei forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government

WASHINGTON: US authorities are in the "advanced" stages of a criminal probe that could result in an indictment of Chinese technology giant Huawei, a report said Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said the Department of Justice is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners, including a T-Mobile robotic device used to test smartphones.
Huawei and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the media report.
However, Huawei noted that "Huawei and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile's trade secret claim."
The move would further escalate tensions between the US and China after the arrest last year in Canada of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company founder.
The case of Meng, under house arrest awaiting proceedings, has inflamed US-China and Canada-China relations.
Two Canadians have been detained in China since Meng's arrest and a third has been sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges -- moves observers see as attempts by Beijing to pressure Ottawa over her case.
Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the US over purported links to the Chinese government.
Huawei's reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare media interview Tuesday, forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
The tensions come amid a backdrop of President Donald Trump's efforts to get more manufacturing on US soil and slap hefty tariffs on Chinese goods for what he claims are unfair trade practices by Beijing.
In a related move, lawmakers introduced a bill to ban the export of American parts and components to Chinese telecom companies that are in violation of US export control or sanctions laws -- with Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE the likely targets.
"Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People's Liberation Army," said Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of the bill's sponsors.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in the same statement: "Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests and need to be held accountable."
Last year, Trump reached a deal with ZTE that eases tough financial penalties on the firm for helping Iran and North Korea evade American sanctions.
Trump said his decision in May to spare ZTE came following an appeal by Chinese President Xi Jinping to help save Chinese jobs.