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DIFC Aims To Host 100 Indian Firms

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
03 September, 2015

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a free zone in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said in a statement on September 2, 2015, that it aims to increase the number of Indian firms registered in the zone to 100 in the next ten years.

The statement was issued following a visit by a DIFC delegation to Mumbai. The delegation met with leading business decision makers from India's banks, insurers, law firms, and asset and wealth management companies over a one-week period.

The DIFC said that the number of Indian institutions in the free zone has grown from one to over 20 since 2007. Indian institutions now make up the third largest community of financial firms at the Centre. Currently, 10 leading Indian banks have a presence in the DIFC, and discussions are ongoing for a further 10 to set up operations in the zone. Furthermore, more than a quarter of the current workforce employed in the DIFC is of Indian origin.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited the UAE to strengthen the relationship with the Gulf countries and seek investment to boost the Indian economy. The visit presented opportunities both to enhance cooperation between the Indian financial community and the DIFC, and to promote the Centre's legal and regulatory framework to businesses looking to access the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Indian firms stand to benefit from the UAE's double tax treaty with India, which serves as an incentive to invest in the DIFC. Recently, Gulf Petrochem, a multinational energy corporation, launched India's first real estate fund under the DIFC's Exempt Fund in partnership with Gateway Investments.

The UAE's investments in India currently stand at around USD8bn, according to the DIFC. Trade and investment ties between India and the UAE are expected to continue to grow following a pledge made by Modi and UAE Government officials to increase bilateral trade by 60 percent over the next five years.

The DIFC offers firms zero percent income tax guaranteed for 50 years, 100 percent foreign ownership, no exchange controls, and a legal system based on English common law.

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