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As a global investment hotspot, Dubai never fails to attract hordes of investors who come here either to set up a new company or a branch office.
Entrepreneurs looking to establish a branch office in the emirate are required to appoint a manager to open the office and an auditor who is UAE-accredited. They also need to ensure that the office only conducts activities not in any way different from that of the parent company.
The process of getting a business license for firms that carry out industrial and commercial activities involves registering the branch with the Ministry of Economy (MOE) then the Department of Economic Development (DED). Establishments engaged in contracting and other indirect commercial activities must first register at DED then MOE, but offices that offer professional services need only obtain an approval and license from the DED.
Generally, once the government requirements are met and before being issued a license, rules dictate that the company must assign a UAE national to act as a local service agent (LSA). The LSA will carry out the function (among other functions) of importing the goods or products of the parent firm, but he will not have a claim on any of the company’s stocks, shares or activities.
Businessmen can approach the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to understand the procedures involved in branch office setup. However, business setup firms also exist to take the hassles off any investor’s hands so they can get to business right away.
* Branch’s activities must be similar to parent firm
* The branch cannot import parent firm’s products
* Before license issuance, firm must hire an agent
Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer