Ras Al Khaimah: Country and Foreign Investment
Ras al-Khaimah (the strictly accurate transliteration is Ra’s al-Khaymah) is on the Musandam peninsula and includes the northernmost part of the in the UAE. This is reflected in its name, which means ‘top of the tent’. The emirate has 65 kilometres of Gulf coastline and has an area of 1,680 square kilometres. It is the fourth-largest emirate with an estimated population of 300,000, of which about 50% are UAE citizens. Arabic and English are the dominant languages.
The UAE economy has been dominated by petroleum. With few oil and gas deposits, Ras al-Khaimah’s wealth has largely been built on manufacturing. The emirate is one of the region’s largest producers of cement and it exports ceramic products to more than 135 countries. Other indistries include ceramic tile production and fishing.
Ras al-Khaimah is strategically placed between Africa and the Middle East and between the Far East and Europe, making it a gateway to over 1.5 billion consumers in countries in the surrounding area.
Ras al-Khaimah International Airport operates passenger traffic to destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South Asia and the Far East. It is equipped to handle all types of cargo planes and facilities include a 3,760m runway and a 3,000 m2 cargo terminal with state-of-the-art facilities with room for expansion. Saqr Port, in the industrial area of Khor Khuwair, provides bulk and container services from 12 deep water berths, eight of which are owned by the government.
Apart from those levied on the oil industry and domestic banking, there are no income or capital taxes in Ras al-Khaimah, and no withholding tax. The UAE (and hence Ras al-Khaimah) has in force a number of double tax treaties with high-tax countries and can be used by major corporations for tax planning purposes.
As part of the UAE, Ras al-Khaimah belongs to the unified customs area of the Gulf Co-operation Council which came into effect on 1 January 2003 and covers Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai).
The Ras al-Khaimah Investment Association has an offshore company registry that offers international investors a high degree of confidentiality rivalling any traditional offshore financial centre. In the first half of 2012, 1,145 new companies registered in the Free Trade Zone, representing a 4% annual increase.
A modern complex known as the RAK Financial City is in the process of becoming the RAK Investment Authority’s offshore facility, specializing in trusts, foundations, insurance business, funds and other financial and legal services which are in demand from global investors. Developed on an area of 320,000 m2, it will include 12 towers ranging from 25 to 65 floors designed for both office and residential use.