The UAE is actively promoted as a link between the East and West and foreign direct investment is heavily encouraged. Foreign companies usually conduct business either as a limited liability company with a UAE national shareholding or as a branch of a foreign company. There are numerous free zones that cater to particular business segments and they allow 100% foreign ownership with defined taxes for periods of up to 50 years.

Earlier, only banks and oil companies were subject to taxation. Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced in the UAE in January 2018 with most businesses and sectors liable to collect and pay VAT with some exceptions.