UAE seen as safe haven for foreign firms amid unrest

Relocation specialists Links Group said on Tuesday that more international firms were looking to set up Middle East operations in the UAE amid the impact of the Arab Spring.

The company, which recorded its strongest year on record for business incorporation in the UAE, said the Arab Spring movement had played to the UAE’s advantage with regional companies choosing to relocate their core business functions or headquarters to the emirates.

Links said companies saw the UAE as a safe haven, where they have greater confidence in the economic and political future of the country.

In the first three quarters of 2011, Links Group recorded a 75 percent increase in onshore business licence issuance in Dubai and Abu Dhabi compared to the same period last year, it said in a statement.

“This places demand for onshore company formation at higher levels than the firm experienced during the boom years of 2006 to 2008,” the statement added.

According to Links Group, asset protection has been the major motivation of business unit relocation to the UAE, particularly for finance and HR functions.

John Martin St Valery, founder and CEO, Links Group, said that as economic uncertainty grips Europe and the US, foreign businesses are seeing the UAE as central to their business expansion strategies to tap opportunities in the neighbouring GCC markets.

He added: “The increased interest in establishing a legal commercial presence in the UAE reaffirms the country’s status as the regional trading hub and strategic gateway to the rest of the Middle East.

“This interest is not only coming from places like Egypt and Bahrain, but Europe and the US too where economies are also in decline or remain flat. This signals to us conviction in the UAE leadership and its pro-business environment and certainly bodes well for national GDP growth.”

Construction, consultancy services and petrochemicals are the sectors in which Links Group has seen strongest growth in 2011, with many of these companies positioning themselves in the UAE to respond to the anticipated release of large project tenders in Qatar.

Article by Links Group on Oct 12th 2011

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