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14 April 2024

We will play an active role in assisting businesses

By Mohamad Al Kady



The UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) plans to shift the role of its member organisations from granting licences to a more active position linking the business community and government authorities, at both federal and local levels.

Salah bin Omeir Al Shamsi, President of the FCCI and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), says chambers should approach businessmen and have open discussions on the obstacles and difficulties faced by the business community and co-ordinate with related authorities to tackle these challenges.
He believes the UAE will continue booming for the next few years thanks to its strong infrastructure and open market policies.

“Companies are expanding locally due to increasing demand in the property and financial services sectors,” he said. “There is increasing inflation but it is an open market and the demand is very high, while the supply is still low.

“As long as the UAE attracts more people and professionals from around the world the demand will continue to be very high.”


How does the FCCI and its affiliated chambers plan to develop their role?

The FCCI represents the UAE private sector in the country and the traditional role of chambers of commerce and industry was to grant licences.

Now we are becoming more active in the business community by contacting businessmen and following up their projects and discussing any obstacles or challenges they are facing.

We are also co-ordinating with related authorities, at federal and local levels, to study these obstacles and find proper solutions through co-operation between the government and private sectors.
The private sector in the country is exceptional and the FCCI encourages private businesses to participate in all activities related to economic development.

The next stage for the ADCCI is to open up channels between businessmen and investors to discuss various challenges and offer ideas to facilitate doing business in Abu Dhabi.

What other services do you provide for the private sector?

We prepare studies, collect data and give advice about various economic activities in the country.

The FCCI offers a range of programmes that includes research studies, services and guidance in addition to facilitating the activities of companies in all economic, commercial and industrial areas as the private sector is considered an important pillar in the process of economic development.

The ADCCI’s newly launched Members’ Services Centre along with the BusinessLink service serves businessmen, investors and companies.

The aim is to simplify and facilitate procedures for obtaining trade licences and a number of other services within a highly professional atmosphere and environment that offers a one-stop-shop. Several government departments, organisations and companies are providing their services through the centre.

These efforts will streamline our services by introducing new initiatives and being proactive in serving our members, saving them time and effort and providing the necessary facilities to make businesses successful.

UAE companies are developing and expanding very fast so services should match this progress. We have companies that are competing in regional and international markets.

The economic development in the country is proceeding at a rapid pace and the authorities should facilitate procedures for all companies. The new trend in chambers’ services will be a major factor in boosting the UAE’s competitiveness.

Despite these services in the country, the UAE was ranked 68th in the World Bank’s recent ‘Doing Business’ report. What is

the FCCI’s role in improving the business environment?

The FCCI considers this report a road map for improving the UAE’s competitiveness. The country’s economy is improving very fast and we need to expand our role in the business community.

The FCCI along with chambers of commerce and industry in all the emirates represent the private sector and we must create close communications with government authorities to achieve progress.
During the FCCI’s last meeting we discussed this issue and we will focus on three main areas to promote the UAE’s competitiveness. We will prepare proposals to ease procedures for opening new companies, reduce the cost of licences and reduce the time taken to grant licenses.

These areas are very important to reduce obstacles facing new companies in the country and when new regulations are approved and put in force the UAE’s competitiveness will increase sharply.

What about the other areas the report addressed – especially laws and legality?

We are taking the report very seriously and are trying to bring in the best practices of developed countries to improve our competitiveness.

We are in continuous contact with the business community and government authorities regarding laws related to economic activities. Currently we are preparing ideas and proposals to discuss the impact of the commercial agencies law on local agents.

Amendments to the law set a limited period for commercial agency agreements and give foreign entities the right to cancel agreements and appoint new agents.

Local agents have served the interests of international organisations for decades and played a major role in expanding the business of these entities in the country and the region. Local agents consider these amendments unfair.

We understand the amendments are in line with the rules of the World Trade Organisation, but international agreements set a framework for free trade and each country has the right to protect its interests.

The FCCI will submit a report on this issue to the Ministry of Economy and will have a meeting with the minister to discuss the local agents’ demands and proposals.

Businessmen are concentrating their investment in the properties market but are there opportunities in infrastructure projects?

The UAE Government is opening up the water, electricity and health industries to private companies and there are major private sector projects in these areas.

The private sector is focusing on the real estate market because there is high demand on realty – and high profits. The real estate market is a very important component of the economic cycle as increasing demand for properties will increase demand for building materials and boost related industries.

The high economic growth rates have created vast business opportunities for businessmen.



Salah bin Omeir Al Shamsi

President of FCCI


Shamsi is the first elected Chairman of the ADCCI following the historic 2005 election. He is Chairman of Al Qudra Holding and a member of the boards of several companies and organisations.
He is a sports fan and is an honourary member of the board of Al Ain Football Club. Al Shamsi holds a BSc in civil engineering from North Carolina University and an EMBA in business administration from the American University in Sharjah.