Latham & Watkins and VentureSouq Launch Free Zone Navigator

ArabNet Team, May 01 2018

Earlier this morning at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2018, Latham & Watkins, in partnership with VentureSouq, announced the launch of the UAE Free Zone Navigator, an innovative online resource to help entrepreneurs, investors, and fast growth companies determine the most appropriate free trade zone when looking to establish a presence in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE Free Zone Navigator compares 11 popular free zones across 19 industries, from e-commerce and fintech to gaming and augmented reality.

The UAE Free Zone Navigator offers two online interactive comparative tools to assist with the navigation of popular free zones across multiple industries:

  • The Industry Matrix which identifies which free zones permit businesses operating in specific sectors; and
  • The Free Zone Comparator which provides a side-by-side comparison of the various legal, regulatory, and economic considerations to establish a business in different free zones.

Brian Meenagh, a corporate partner in Latham & Watkins Dubai office, who chairs the firm’s emerging companies practice in the Middle East, said: “The UAE’s free zones have played a significant role in establishing the Middle East as an attractive destination for entrepreneurs, investors, and start-ups. Having spent many years helping clients navigate the myriad of issues facing fast growth companies in the region, we believe these comparative tools will be an invaluable resource for those looking to identify the most appropriate environment to conduct their business.”

Tammer Qaddumi, a partner at VentureSouq, added: “The Free Zone Navigator is intended to help early-stage companies, both regionally and internationally, move into new markets quickly and efficiently in order to help them grow. We view market access as the principal obstacle for companies looking to scale regionally. The Free Zone Navigator will be one of many tools that we roll-out to help provide transparency in doing business across the entire region.”    

The UAE’s 45 Free Trade Zones are designed to attract start-ups and investors by offering simpler establishment processes as well as labor and immigration procedures, and by permitting 100% foreign ownership. Each free zone is governed by its own authority and has distinct rules and regulations conducive to specific industries. 

Learn more about and try out the UAE Free Zone Navigator here.


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