Going from local success to global prominence finds no better starting point than the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It’s not just the country’s rife ecosystem that makes it fertile ground for new businesses, but also the infrastructure and opportunities arising out of its push for growing its non-oil sectors.


There’s a rapid year-on-year increase within the UAE’s trade volume which stood at USD 622,419 million as of Dec 2022. The UAE is known to reward innovation generously and is still a young enough market where higher volumes of growth are expected in the years to come.


In addition to this, the UAE offers the world’s lowest corporate taxation rate of just 9%, a world-class infrastructure that facilitates seamless operations, a highly professional global workforce, and the strategic advantage of being a port country connected to 195 countries globally. This positions the UAE as the right place for growing local and international trade.


Setting up a Trading Company

The first step in growing a trading business is selecting the right avenue for the business. Setting up a trading business requires a general trading license which enables businesses to buy and sell a diverse array of products across multiple industries. This license can be obtained either from the Department of Economic Development (DED) or any of the UAE’s free zones.


For newcomers, there are two distinct options: mainland registration and free zone registration. Mainland registration is ideal for business owners or founders with aspirations to grow their ventures internationally as well as in the UAE. On the other hand, free zone registration is recommended when the business is only engaged in international trade and the goods won’t pass through UAE ports or customs. Making the right choice when setting up a company is paramount and can save you from a lot of financial and logistic challenges later on.


The Process

The first step for establishing a trading company in the UAE involves acquiring a commercial or company trading license. This includes selecting a trade name for your business, applying for initial approval from the DED or your chosen free zone, and securing external approvals like residency visas and employee visas, enabling you to live and work in the UAE.


The required documents include;

  • Trade name
  • Shareholder and director passports
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Proof of ID
  • Relevant government approvals etc.


Benefits of Opening a Trading Company in the UAE

There are several benefits of opening a trading company in the UAE, apart from the opportunity to grow fast. One of them is that business owners can sponsor dependents and family members right away. Multiple stakeholders or partners can set up a legal entity and the setup is not only affordable but also offers an attractive 100% ownership. Moreover, the corporate tax rate of only 9% on profits exceeding AED 375,000 is the lowest globally, making the UAE an unbeatable destination for international trade.



The UAE offers a plethora of options for entrepreneurs looking to establish trading businesses, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. To navigate this landscape successfully, it’s crucial to comprehend the pros and cons of each shortlisted location, implement suitable legal structures, and ensure the necessary documentation for a seamless setup and operation of the business.


This is where Unity Partners plays a key role. With our understanding of the UAE’s business landscape, Unity Partners is uniquely positioned to guide you through the complexities of decision-making. Whether it’s choosing the optimal location, structuring your business legally, or handling critical documentation, our teams ensure that your business journey is efficient and tailored to deliver your goals.

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