Middle East trading companies comparisons in 2023

Summary at a GlanceDubaiSaudi ArabiaQatarOmanBahrainAbu Dhabi
Type of entityTrading LLC100% SAGIA trading LLCTrading Joint Venture LLC70% LLCLLCTrading LLC
Total company engagement set up costs (US$)28,66076,39032,59929,55025,13124,500
Subsequent annual costs (incl audit and tax in US$)16,57018,8406,6007,0507,66211,050
How long to set the company up?2 months7 months1 month6 weeks3 months2 months
How long to open company bank account?5 weeks3 months4 weeks6 weeks4 weeks4 weeks
Issued paid up share capital required (US$)18M55,000390,0002,6601
Corporate bank account locationEmirates NBDAlinma BankSCB QatarHSBC OmanArab bankEmirates Islamic
Tenancy agreement required before incorporation?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Do you travel for company incorporation?NoNoNoNoNoNo
Do you travel for bank account opening?YesYesNoYesYesYes
Resident director required?NoNoNoNoNoNo
Incorporation requirements
National shareholder required?YesNoYesYesYesYes
Minimum number of directors111211
Minimum number of shareholders212222
Resident company secretary required?NoNoNoYesNoNo
Individual shareholders allowedYesYesYesYesYesYes
Corporate shareholders allowedYesYesYesYesYesYes
Corporate director(s) allowedNoNoNoNoNoNo
Public register of shareholders and directorsNoYesYesYesYesNo
Tax and accounting considerations
Corporate tax payable %0%20%10%15%0%0%
Statutory audit requiredYesYesYesYesYesYes
Annual tax return to be submittedYesYesYesYesYesYes
Access to how many double tax treaties?663137316166
Tax exempt free zones available3162434
Resident company for local tax purposesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Withholding tax payable0%5-15%0%10%0%0%
How long to get work permit approved1 month2 months1 month1 month1 month1 month
Can the entity hire expatriate staff in the country?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Logistics considerations
Allowed to sign sales contracts with local clientsYesYesYesYesYesYes
Allowed to invoice local clientsYesYesYesYesYesYes
Average monthly salary of skilled labourUS$3,500US$3,700US$4,500US$4,000US$3,500US$3,500
Average monthly salary of unskilled labourUS$800US$1,300US$700US$1,000US$2,000US$800
English spoken by what % of the population (estimate)78%40%60%30%45%50%
Literacy rate %94%95%97%91%96%94%
Office rental per square meter per monthUS$65US$25US$58US$25US$20US$45
Warehouse rental per square meter per monthUS$30US$13US$30US$13US$10US$20
Country credit ratingAAA+AABa1-BBB-AA
Internet connectivity ratingFairFairStrongFairStrongFair
GDP per capita (US$)US$68,600US$52,200US$143,400US$39,700US$51,700US$64,500
Government liberal or controlling of daily businessModerateModerateModerateStrictLiberalModerate
Population % tertiary enrollment25%41%12%29%29%25%
Global competitiveness ranking (1-6)
Ease of doing business global ranking 2018-2019 (lower the better)119283786211
Population (million)9.4332.44.691.449.4
Unemployment rate4%6%8.9%3.1%4%4%
Inflation rate (2017)2%-0.9%0.4%1.6%1.4%2%
GDP 2018 US$ billion6961.7 trillion34019071696
Average annual growth (2017)0.8%-0.9%1.6%-0.9%3.8%0.8%

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