5 Jun

All you need to know about trading in the UAE

The UAE’s trading roots stretch back decades. The country’s merchants have sold all manner of goods and resources with others around the world, from pearls and spices to gold, textiles and precious stones.

The UAE is famous for its oil trade, which helped propel the country to become one of the most prestigious business destinations in the world. Even today, the UAE’s oil and gas exports account for 40%, followed by precious metals and gems at 28%, according to Trading Economics.

However, always diversifying, the UAE is now home to numerous other trading sectors offering lucrative returns for entrepreneurs and business owners – from electronics and car parts to food and apparel.

So, if you want to trade internationally or within a thriving local market, there’s no better place than the UAE. Keep reading to discover the steps you need to take to launch and grow your trading business.

Why start a trading business in the UAE?

There are many good reasons to start a trading business in the UAE, one of the top reasons being the country’s strategic global location. The UAE sits in the heart of the Middle East, surrounded by the large and growing markets of Asia and North Africa. The country’s world-class infrastructure offers direct links to these regions as well as to Europe, America and beyond.

The UAE is home to the world’s third busiest airport putting the majority of the global population just eight hours away, as well as the world’s ninth busiest seaport offering excellent logistical opportunities.

Then there is the UAE’s tax regime, which is one of the world’s most favourable. Businesses setting up in the UAE free zones can also benefit from 100% customs tax exemption as well as zero currency restrictions and full capital and profit repatriation.

The country also offers a welcoming and encouraging business environment. With the help of a local company formation expert, the entire licensing, visa and setup process is fast and straightforward.

Types of trading activities in the UAE

There are several ways to import and export in the UAE. Many businesses achieve great success by importing goods from overseas for assembly or immediate resale to the local market.

The most popular goods traded into the UAE, as per the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), include gold (USD 46 bn), broadcasting equipment (USD 18.5 bn), refined petroleum (USD 16.7 bn), diamonds (USD 13.6 bn), and cars (USD 9.3 bn). The UAE has forged strong relationships with major exporters worldwide, including China, India, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Germany, putting an abundance of goods within easy reach.

Alternatively, you may wish to export or re-export goods from the UAE to other trading nations. Aside from oil and gas, the UAE’s top exports, according to the OEC, are crude petroleum (USD 58.5 bn), refined petroleum (USD 42.5 bn), gold (USD 32.8 bn), broadcasting equipment (USD 16.5 bn), and diamonds (USD 13.6 bn). These are traded with countries globally, including the vast markets of India, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Another option is commercial trading through your own business in the UAE. This could mean manufacturing your own products to sell or reselling wholesale goods. Thanks to the diversity of the UAE’s economy, there’s a wide array of activities to choose from in its growing market. Popular trading businesses include food and beverages, furniture, auto spare parts, construction materials and batteries, among many more.

How to get a UAE trading license

Whatever type of trading business you wish to set up, RAKEZ can help. Our expert team will learn of your requirements before guiding you through the following process:

Step 1: Outline your business activities

In most cases, your business activities will have a significant bearing on the license you require. However, when it comes to trading, you will usually be covered by a commercial license.

That said, you will still need to be clear about exactly what your business intends to do, such as import or export, e-commerce or trade from physical premises in the UAE.

Your dedicated RAKEZ contact will make sure all required activities are listed on your application to ensure that you obtain a suitable license.

Step 2: Pick a company name

Next, you will need to choose an appropriate company name. This is not only important for paperwork, but it also reflects the identity of your brand. So, you should think carefully about how well your chosen name represents your offering and ethos.

On top of this, you will need to adhere to the naming rules laid down by the UAE government. One of the main points to bear in mind when choosing a business name is to avoid obscene or indecent words that may offend the general public. You should also refrain from using words or names containing any religious attributes.

Step 3: Choose your setup structure

When starting a trading business in the UAE, you can incorporate a new company or open a branch office of an existing company.  

At this stage, you will also need to consider the kinds of facilities and services that you will require. Some free zones provide legal, logistics and customs support as well as on-site warehousing. So, having a clear picture of what you need will speed up the process of finding your perfect facility.

Step 4: Apply for your license

Before applying for your UAE trading license, you will need to prepare some basic documents, including:

  • • Copy of your passport and visa
  • • Copy of your Emirates ID or entry visa stamp (for non-residents)
  • • Copy of the passport and visa of partner/s (if any)
  • • Coloured passport-sized photographs

Additional business documents such as the business plan and other necessary documents like no-objection certificates and approval letters from various government entities may also be required.

Cost of starting a trading business in the UAE

RAKEZ offers a trading business license package from just AED 5,499, guaranteed for three years, which includes access to the centre’s coworking space.

However, there may be other costs to consider on top of this if you require additional facilities for storage or intend to import and export.

Another option is RAKEZ’s all-inclusive visa for life package which includes a license and UAE residency visa for just AED 16,500 per year.

Start trading in the UAE with RAKEZ

Start your trading journey in a nurturing hub that will provide you with all you need to set up and flourish. Top reasons to join RAKEZ Traders District:

  • • Easy access to established global supply chain
  • • Connectivity to other emirates and the entire GCC through various logistical hubs
  • • Freedom to source materials from across the globe
  • • Temporary storage solutions with warehouses starting from AED 90/m2
  • • Scalable, customisable and flexible warehouse lease options
  • • B2B opportunities with over 18,000 companies in the RAKEZ ecosystem

Ready to get started? Contact now! Call +971 72041111 or send an email to info@rakez.com.


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Last Updated on 12/29/2019 9:23:05 PM

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