The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted an interactive session on investment opportunities in UAE with UAQ FTZ, UAE, at the Taj Bengal hotel in the city on Friday, 7th July 2023. The discussion centred on business networking opportunities, investment opportunities for Indian companies in the UAE, how to set up a business in a free trade zone and get a license from UAQ FTZ, gateways for goods and services around the world, and investment incentives with 100% foreign ownership, repatriation of capital, and no sectoral restrictions. The session was attended by eminent personalities such as Mr. Johnson M George, General Manager, UAQ FTZ, Government of Umm Al Quwain, Mr. Tarun Sharma, Business Development Officer, Indian Subcontinent, Government of Umm Al Quwain, Mr. Sanjay Budhia, Managing Director, Patton International Ltd. & Past President Indian Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Sudip Datta, Partner EY, Chairman Infrastructure National Committee ICC.
Delivering the welcome address Mr. Sanjay Budhia, Managing Director, Patton International Ltd. & Past President Indian Chamber of Commerce said “I’m genuinely amazed and appreciative of each and every one of you for defying the rules and taking part in this initiative in such large numbers, which demonstrates your collective enthusiasm for it. Welcome to this interactive session on investment prospects in the United Arab Emirates with Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ). It is a joy to have Mr. Johnson George and Mr. Tarun Sharma here with us. They are visiting Kolkata for the first time, and because this region of eastern India is full of promise and opportunities, it is excellent that they started off here. We all know that India and the UAE have diplomatic ties dating back to 1972. India and the UAE have maintained strong and stable diplomatic and business ties ever since. Indian and UAE commerce in the 1970s was estimated to be worth USD 185 million annually. As of the conclusion of the fiscal year 2022–2023, there will be 85 billion US dollars. India is currently the second-largest trading partner for the UAE, and the UAE has moved up the ranks to become India’s third-largest trading partner and seventh-largest investor. 3.35 billion dollars, or three times as much as 1.03 billion dollars in 2021–2022, will be invested directly by the UAE in India. You are all aware that the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and the United Arab Emirates is anticipated to secure bilateral trade and investment as well as increase India’s exports to the UAE across a variety of sectors, including gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, sporting goods, pharmaceuticals, and much more. Additionally, this deal would provide Indian businesses the chance to obtain access to the UAE gateway for exporting their goods to West Asia, Europe, and Africa. In this context, I’d like to discuss West Bengal, our state. Numerous significant enterprises are located in our state, which also benefits from an abundance of natural mineral resources and favourable climatic conditions. It is also India’s top grower of rice and the country’s second-largest producer of tea. In the fiscal years 2022–2023, this state exported a total of $12.74 billion. West Bengal is a significant region that is home to more than 500 MDs and exports 50% of India’s leather goods. Furthermore, the state has a successful track record in the growth of MSMEs, particularly handlooms and handicrafts, which is essential for creating jobs for the state. Finally, West Bengal has a long and storied legacy of gold jewellery workmanship that is renowned around the globe. Therefore, there is a great chance for enterprises in India, especially those in West Bengal, to consider their alternatives, invest in the UAQ FTZ, and discover this excellent location, which offers a secure environment in which to expand their operations.”
While addressing, Mr. Johnson M George, General Manager, UAQ FTZ, Government of Umm Al Quwain, said, “Seeing so many interested people makes me very pleased. I’m sure many of you here travel to the United Arab Emirates frequently, and as Indians, the UAE holds a special place in our hearts. Umm Al Quwain is one of the seven states that make up the UAE, therefore I don’t believe I need to say much about the venue. The international airports of Dubai and Sharjah are very near to where we are from in the country’s north. We are a typical Umm Al Quwain Emirate licensing alliance with significant logistical benefits. As we put it, this is the beginning of relocation and growth. We provide you chances for startups, so you may come and establish enterprises there. Anyone interested in moving and growing their business should consider working with us.”
While delivering the presentation, Mr. Tarun Sharma, Business Development Officer, Indian Subcontinent, Government of Umm Al Quwain, said, “We are Umm Al Quwain’s India representative, and we take care of all the needs for your company’s establishment. I’ll give you a little history of Umm Al Quwain. We have a fairly solid government with clear laws and guidelines. UAE has the strongest economy in the world and is ranked 20th in terms of free markets. According to the Indian Embassy, who are quite vigilant in protecting and promoting investors, we now have assets totaling close to 85 billion dollars. It is the fastest-growing market if you are headquartered in the UAE. For foreign investors, our legal system is open and transparent. UAE is ranked number one for road quality, number twelve for logistical advantage, and number twenty on the global health innovation index. Either in the free zone or on the mainland, businesses can be built. On the mainland, you must form a business partnership with a local Emirati, who will have 51% of the company’s shares, as opposed to the free zone, where you will hold all of the shares. The GDP will be contributed to by 45 FTZ authorities, of which only 5 are generic, and we are one of those generic authorities. Our position is in the north of the United Arab Emirates; it takes us only 30 minutes to get to Dubai International Airport and 20 minutes to get to Sharjah International Airport by car. Modern infrastructure may be found at Umm Al Quwain, which is quite advanced. In 1987, we were founded under the name Rulers Highness, and in 2014, we reestablished ourselves under the name Umm Al Quwain. A corporation may be established in one or two days thanks to our quick and easy registration process. We provide 2 billion consumers with access to cutting-edge office space. In Umm Al Quwain, the maximum number of stockholders is 50, compared to 5–6 on the mainland. Our startup fee is 1,80,000 INR. Air, water, and land are all capable of reaching our position. We have simple access to the markets in several nations. We have three mega roads that link to the whole UAE: F11, E311 and E611. Our economy is interwoven into a cluster. We operate much like an ecosystem: people may live, work, and play here, and they can rent land for a 25-year term with the option of an extension. Water and power are also readily available, and we provide office space that is ready to move into and starts at 90 square feet. Our country has a thriving education industry, and several Indian and foreign universities have made investments. We provide a variety of company permits, including industrial permits, service permits, consultant permits, and many more. Several licence alternatives with simple paperwork are also available. You may launch your business for 1,84,000 INR without a visa, but it will cost you 3,00,000 INR to do so with a visa, which covers registration. Along with the package, we’ll provide you access to co-working space, a licence, and 50 stakeholders. Your visa must be renewed every two years. In Umm Al Quwain, compared to other emirates, it is quite affordable, and we have a great tourist entrance. We have about 10,000 businesses in various business categories registered with us. If you base yourself in Umm Al Quwain for exporting, it necessitates less duties and provides the chance to export globally. It is quite simple to incorporate a business: choose a commercial name and activity, submit the incorporation form, pay, and insure the licence within one or two working days. Umm Al Quwain makes it relatively simple to establish a business.”
While delivering the vote of thanks, Mr. Sudip Datta Partner EY, Chairman Infrastructure National Committee Indian Chamber of Commerce, said, ” I must admit that the proposal was quite well organised and thought out. It was fascinating to see how the UAE has set so many tax breaks and offers a good standard of living. I was highly enlightened to learn about the UAQ FTZ’s organisational structure and prime location. Because the UAE has a stable administration and is likely the only nation where an aircraft may take up to 8 hours to travel, doing business with them will be quite easy. Additionally, the UAE government offers a high-quality living, which will be extremely necessary to obtain. They also provide a lot of tax benefits and physical benefits, as well as access to international markets like those in Asia, Europe, Africa, and others. All things considered, it’s an intriguing proposal, and the Indian Chamber of Commerce will be pleased to work with the FTZ. India and the UAE have maintained a long-standing and close bilateral relationship that they have been enjoying. This is due to interpersonal ties and the fact that India is now the UAE’s top export market.”