Dubai to create integrated economic zones authority

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has issued Law No. (16) of 2021 creating the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority, an independent legal entity with financial and autonomy.

According to the new Law, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai Commerce City will operate under the supervision of the newly created Authority, reported Emirates News Agency WAM.

Sheikh Mohammed also issued Decree No. (36) of 2021 appointing Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum as Chairman of the Authority and Decree No. (37) of 2021 naming Dr Mohammed Ahmed Al Zarouni as CEO of the Authority. Law No. (16) and Decrees No. (36) and (37) of 2021 will be published in the Official Gazette and are effective from January 1, 2022.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said that the creation of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority is part of the emirate’s efforts to introduce new frameworks for further improving services provided to businesses and investors, which in turn will help accelerate economic growth. The initiative seeks to consolidate the success of free zones in catalysing growth and adding value to the national economy.

"The establishment of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority is a vital move to enhance Dubai’s global competitiveness and raise its investment attractiveness. The private sector is a major partner in our development journey over the next 50 years and the government continues to explore innovative initiatives to support their growth and success. Our objective is to make Dubai the destination of choice for global investors and a major focal point for global commerce,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

"The creation of the new Authority is one of our many strategic initiatives to raise the speed and efficiency of services for businesses and investors and enhance the ease of doing business. Our focus is on integrating government processes and facilitating greater access to global markets through an accelerated transition to a digital environment. We remain committed to strengthening our partnership with the private sector and making our business environment more attractive, both of which are key to sustained growth in our new phase of development.”

Over 5,000 international firms, covering 20 key economic sectors and employing 30,000 employees from all over the world, will operate under the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority. Economic activity regulated by the Authority generates 5 percent of Dubai’s GDP.

With the broader aim of enhancing Dubai’s status as a global and regional investment hub, the Law will support integrated economic zones in enhancing growth, diversifying investment and business opportunities and improving ease of doing business.

One of the Authority’s key focuses is to attract local and international companies to set up their headquarters in Integrated Economic Zones in the emirate. Furthermore, it seeks to promote Dubai’s economic competitiveness especially in retail, technology, Islamic economy, e-commerce, industrial, logistics and shipping sectors. It also aims to support SMEs and drive entrepreneurship and innovation across sectors.

The Authority is tasked with creating, developing and managing the infrastructure and administrative services of Integrated Economic Zones. It will also regulate business activities and services in Integrated Economic Zones, including the import and storage of merchandise.

Companies and individuals licensed in the Integrated Economic Zones under the Authority are exempted from all taxes, including income tax, for 50 years, effective from the date of the new Law. This exemption period can be renewed for a similar period by a decision issued by the Dubai Ruler.

All subsidiaries of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority and companies or individuals licensed by the Authority are exempted from restrictions on repatriation of capital, profits and salaries in any currency and to any destination outside its Zones. This exemption is valid for 50 years, renewable for a similar period by a decision issued by the Dubai Ruler. Furthermore, the funds of licensed companies and their employees will not be subject to nationalisation or restricted ownership.

In addition, the operations of the Integrated Economic Zones Authority and companies licensed by the Authority are not subject to the regulations of Dubai Municipality or Dubai Economy, except in the case of regulations related to safety, security and food control, or any other regulations clearly designated as applicable within Free Zones.




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