The UAE must work to attract businesses seeking “greener pastures” in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (EU), a top Emirati lawyer has urged.
Dr Habib Al Mulla, chairman of Baker & Mckenzie Habib Al Mulla in Dubai, says global business hubs, including the UAE, stand to gain from ‘Brexit’ as British and international firms seeks to disperse their operations away from the UK towards more “reliable harbours”.
Al Mulla said that Brexit could negatively impact the UAE in the short term as the weak pound leads to a drop in British tourists – a crucial segment of the Gulf tourism industry.
However, this short-term loss will be a small price to pay if the UAE could benefit from an influx of firms searching for a new base.
Writing in Gulf News, Al Mulla said: “In the short term, Brexit may be costly to Dubai since Brits comprise a fair percentage of its tourism industry. As the pound sterling plummets, they’ll no doubt find less expensive destinations or simply stay at home.
“Yet that fall-off seems a reasonable price to pay if Dubai can attract businesses, especially financial institutions, in search of freer, greener pastures.”
Al Mulla added that he did not expect an outright exodus of companies from the UK, and that London is likely to retain its reputation as a dominant international capital market.
“Instead, we’re looking at more of a dismemberment as the City’s pieces get flung in the general directions of Dublin, Liechtenstein, Frankfurt, Paris – not to mention Hong Kong and Singapore that already enjoy enough critical mass to readily attract financial institutions in search of reliable harbours,” he wrote.
“Dubai has every reason to bid at this auction. It is a regional business hub and financial centre...government services match or surpass what the EU bureaucracies provide...the UAE offers a quality of life that is unmatched in the region, [and], above all , the UAE is a safe haven in a turmoil region.”
However, Al Mulla urged the UAE government to modernise outdated commercial laws, broaden the availability of information on public companies to increase transparency, and abolish the criminalisation of debt defaulters in order for the country to compete on the global business stage.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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