President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a Decree-Law No. (19) of 2018 on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which aims to promote and develop the country's investment environment, and attract foreign direct investment in line with national development policies.
In accordance with Article II, the Decree-Law aims to consolidate the country's position as a major attraction for foreign direct investment at the regional and global levels, attract and encourage foreign investment, expand and diversify the production base, transfer and attract advanced technology, knowledge and training, in addition to increasing the flow of foreign direct investment in priority sectors to achieve balanced and sustainable development, providing job opportunities in various fields, achieving the best returns of available resources and high added value to the country's economy.
According to the law published in the latest issue of the Official Gazette, a 'Foreign Direct Investment Unit' is to be established in the Ministry of Economy, which is responsible for proposing foreign direct investment policies in the country and determining its priorities, and setting up associated plans and programmes and work on their implementation following their approval by the UAE Cabinet.
Also in accordance with Article 5 of the Decree-Law, the unit will be responsible for establishing a comprehensive database for UAE investments, including data on existing FDI projects, and will review and update information on a periodical basis. Additionally, the relevant authorities shall provide the unit with data on approved investment projects.
The unit will also oversee the creation of an attractive environment for foreign direct investment, facilitate the procedures for registering and licensing foreign direct investment projects, as well as monitor and evaluate their performance in the country.
Licensed foreign investment companies shall - in accordance with Article 8 of the Decree-Law - be granted the same treatment as national companies, within the limits permitted by the legislation in force in the state and the international conventions to which the UAE is a party.
Article 10 of the Decree-Law stipulates that the licensing authority and the responsible authority shall determine the conditions and procedures for the establishment and licensing of FDI projects based on the listed required documents of the Decree-law, and the laws of the country.
Foreign direct investment projects which exist before the provisions of this Decree-Law entry into force shall retain all the privileges given in accordance with former legislations, agreements and contracts within the specified period.