Ras al-Khaimah: Country and Foreign Investment
Like with Dubai, the Ras al-Khaimah government encourages private sector development and believes that the role of the government is primarily to create an optimum environment to enable businesses to flourish, providing infrastructure, utilities and services and making sure that the government is an effective and supportive. The Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) was formed by the government in 2005 to facilitate investment in the emirate, and it acts as a partner to the private sector in many investment projects.
Overseas businessmen will find that their counterparts combine local and regional knowledge with a full understanding of international business practices. English ranks on a par with Arabic as the main business language.
Transport infrastructure is good, and there are three major roads linking Ras al-Khaimah with the other emirates. The newly-constructed Emirates Road passes through the emirates of Umm al-Quwain, Ajman and Sharjah, terminating in Dubai, allowing journeys from Ras al-Khaimah to Dubai in under 45 minutes.
Saqr Port, situated in the industrial area of Khor Khuwair, is the Emirate's main port. It mainly provides bulk and container services and has 12 deep water berths, eight of which are owned by the government. The remaining berths are owned by KGL and serve as a container port. Other services include ship handling, crew changes and storage. A new port, Al-Jazirah, opened recently for bulk handling and is located to the south of Ras al-Khaimah.
Ras al-Khaimah International Airport operates passenger traffic to destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, India and the Far East. The airport has a 3,760m runway, is uncongested and has room for expansion. It is equipped to handle all types of cargo planes and facilities include a 3,000 square meter cargo terminal with state-of-the-art facilities. RAK Airways, launched in December 2007, is the fourth national airline of the United Arab Emirates, flying every day from its base in Ras al-Khaimah.
The postal system in the UAE is very modern and the post offices are among the most efficient in the Gulf. Post takes about eight to ten days to Australia and about ten days to Europe or North America. There is an excellent telephone system and you can phone anywhere in the world from the most remote areas. Internet use in the UAE in general is extensive, and the government has developed many effective online portals for accessing services and information.
There is virtually no corporation tax in Ras al-Khaimah. The only exceptions to this are for oil producing companies and branches of foreign banks. Likewise, there are no personal taxes. Direct taxation is against the traditions of the UAE and it is highly unlikely that it will be introduced in the near future.
In the past 30 years, the foundations of the emirate’s economy have rested largely on industry, but recently laws have been put in place to attract investors from around the globe. Companies registered in the Ras al-Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAKFTZ) benefit from unrestricted foreign ownership and repatriation of profits and capital, and are not required to pay corporate, capital gains, sales or excise taxes. The Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority has also launched an offshore business domicile to rival those in any traditional offshore financial centre.
In 2007, the RAK Investment Authority announced that it is to develop a modern complex known as the RAK Financial City, which is intended to be the home of the RAK Investment Authority’s offshore facility, specializing in trusts, foundations, insurance business, funds and other financial and legal services in demand from global investors. Developed on an area of 320,000 square metres, it will include 12 towers ranging from 25 to 65 floors. Three of the towers will have offices, eight will be given over to residential use and the remaining tower will be an hotel. The area will have parking facility for over 10,000 cars. The project is being developed with an investment of AED 3 billion.