Whitmill has chosen to locate its Middle East office in the Emirate of Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one of the seven Emirates that make up the country.
In the 1960s, Dubai's economy was based largely on revenues from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions. Oil was not discovered until 1966 and when oil revenue first started to flow in 1969 this helped accelerate and drive the early development of the city’s growth. In more recent years Dubai has diversified into other industries, meaning it relies less on revenues from oil, with less than 5% of the Emirate's revenue today coming from oil.
The government of Dubai has played a key role in promoting Dubai as a commercial, financial, trading and tourist centre. Several free zones have been set up to provide excellent facilities for trading, manufacturing, services and other industries. With the creation of 'Dubai Internet City', Dubai became the e-commerce capital of the Middle East with several hundred IT companies. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was established as a Financial Centre in 2004, strengthening Dubai‘s position in the world‘s financial markets and now hosts some of the largest Financial Institutions in the world.
Dubai's manufacturing base includes aluminium smelting, the production of copper cables, lubricating oil and cement and a wide range of medium and small-scale industries. With one of the world's largest dry docks, it has facilities to accommodate and repair even the largest vessels. Other key sectors include utilities, communications and construction.
The city of Dubai is centrally located on the coast of the United Arab Emirates, with the capital Abu Dhabi bordering on the South and the other Emirates to the North.
Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub for the Middle East, its geographical location also making it a convenient and major transport hub for passengers and cargo and meeting point for East –West and North – South business.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan city with a distinctive cultural blend and is home to a large expatriate population. Dubai is the commercial hub of the UAE and has traditionally been a trading centre, serving as an entry port into the Middle East region and, in recent years, for the markets of the Near and Far East, Europe and the United States as well. It is a bustling place with lots of modern buildings, shopping malls and entertainment facilities, as well as one of the most advanced public transport networks in the world.
In 1986 Emirates airline was set up in Dubai and has expanded operations to major Middle Eastern, European and Far Eastern centres. In conjunction with the creation of the airline, Dubai, like the other emirates, has established a comprehensive program to develop its tourism industry. Dubai hosts a variety of international conferences, exhibitions and sporting events. Emirates Airlines is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 3,600 flights per week from its hub at Dubai International Airport.
Investment laws, regulations and incentives are continuously improving to encourage further foreign investment. This includes the introduction of foreign ownership of land and stocks – Dubai became the first emirate within the UAE to open its property market to foreign ownership, followed by Abu Dhabi.
United Arab Emirates is one of the most developed countries in the Arab Gulf and has one of worlds highest GDP per capita.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country's Federal Supreme Council.Dubai will host World Expo 2020.
Dubai has embraced the need to develop and encourage principles of good corporate governance in the Middle East, which can only help to attract foreign direct investment. Hawkamah Corporate Governance Institute, the ﬁrst institute of its kind in the UAE, has been established with the mission of assisting the countries and companies of the Middle East region to develop and implement sound and globally well-integrated corporate governance frameworks.
Dubai’s serious attitude to developing corporate transparency and principles of good corporate governance and anti-money laundering is a beacon for the Middle East region and is a signiﬁcant attraction to the international investment and ﬁnancial community.
Dubai and the UAE have signed up to participate in the Common Reporting Standard and Country by Country reporting and exchange of tax information with effect from 2018.
Taxation - There is no federal corporate or income tax levied in the UAE (except on oil companies and foreign banks). Dubai introduced a local income tax under the Dubai Income Tax Ordinance of 1969; however, the tax has not been implemented and it is understood that there are no plans to do so. In addition, free zone entities are subject to a number of tax concessions.
Value added tax is however due to be introduced in Dubai, the UAE and most of the GCC states with effect from January 2018.
There are no exchange controls on the remittance of proﬁts or repatriation of capital and there are virtually no restrictions on foreign trade.
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