My choice for Business Friendly: the United Arab Emirates
by Marios Kalochoritis
Having worked for over 20 years in the United Arab Emirates, I have always been fascinated by the clarity in direction demonstrated by the country’s leaders and their persistent efforts to execute their strategy in a swift and methodical manner.
In the last 20 years, the UAE – like the rest of the world – has gone through economic cycles of growth and contraction. But throughout it all, the country’s clarity in what it stands for and what it aspires to be has prevailed. The resolute focus maintained by the country’s leadership has helped the country to securely move forward by constantly making necessary changes and taking corrective actions remaining at the forefront of innovation.
The current leadership of the country has set out to develop and expand the UAE as a regional hub for business, trade and tourism with an unprecedented modern infrastructure, whether that is in its physical elements (airports, road network, public transportation, etc.), legal framework (rules and regulations, investor protection schemes, etc.), and a world class financial/banking establishment. It is clear that this ambitious goal is not just supported by the leadership, but that the vast majority of the Emirati population actively supports it, realizing that the success of their leaders’ vision will create wealth and growth opportunities for all people, particularly Emiratis who have become a minority group in their own country for the last decades, due to the massive influx of foreigners who flock to their country.
This unique drive and vision, combined with the unique nature of the UAE’s political structure, allows for swift decisions, allocation of resources, accountability and the development of ambitious mega projects. To the eyes of the first-time visitor, the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi rise from the surrounding desert as miraculous oases. Far from becoming blasé, the returning visitor continues to marvel at the astounding rate of change and growth that took place since their last visit. Indeed, the UAE has achieved a level of infrastructure that is unprecedented for a country that is only 48 years old and would be extremely expensive and time consuming to replicate, whether the extremely effective airport hubs that manage record numbers of passengers travelling to or transiting through the UAE, to the ever expanding road networks, public transportation methods, all the way to the active promotion of culture and arts, entrepreneurship, gender equality, and adoption of new technologies.
In the UAE, I have witnessed how bank mergers, M&A activity, dispute resolutions and unique business creation have taken place with impressive speed and efficiency. The leadership understands that uncertainty is bad for business and they make sure they resolve and dissolve any ambiguities. I have lived through a swift adaptation of technology touching every angle of one’s activities in the UAE as the country makes sure that it firmly places itself at the cutting edge of innovation in order to maintain its competitiveness. And the UAE has managed to accomplish myriads of costly changes and innovations, all the while maintaining a 0% corporate and 0% personal income tax. Instead, residents of UAE pay their share of their use of the country’s resources through a system of direct fees and a consumption VAT at a low 5%. This continues to represent a very low cost to investors and residents and continues to encourage lasting growth and profit.
This unparalleled focus on continuous growth and economic prosperity, combined with the proven commitment from the country’s leadership to provide a distinctively business friendly environment, is why I believe that the UAE is a uniquely positioned jurisdiction to set up companies, whether they operate locally, regionally or globally. The interests of this host country are aligned with the interests of the entrepreneurs and business builders, as the success of businesses in the UAE will reflect positively on the country itself. I have faith in the leadership and governance of the country to make the appropriate business friendly decisions as they overcome any problems that come across the country’s way. For this, with my team at Loggerhead Partners, we promote and assist business owners in selecting the right UAE structure for their business plans. We help them set up and provide support in running their business effectively.
Marios Kalochoritis is the Founder and Managing Partner of Loggerhead Partners. Via our Dubai-based specialist corporate service provider, Loggerhead Corporate Services, we offer bespoke residency planning and family office solutions and company administration services across the three countries we operate in. Our flagship UAE Residency package is unique to the region and includes everything we know our clients will need to obtain and maintain a full fiscal residency.
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