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Sheikh Mohammed updates DIFC's founding law - new version expands free zone's 'strategic objectives'

Dubai: Dubai has updated the laws for the Dubai International Finance Centre, thus expanding the financial hub’s “strategic objectives”.

These objectives now also include “advancing sustainable economic growth for Dubai, developing and diversifying the economy and increasing the GDP contribution of the financial services sector, to promote investment into Dubai and to attract regional and international entities to establish themselves in DIFC as their principal place of business”.

The updated version thus replaces the Law No. (9) of 2004, which was the founding law of DIFC. It provides for more clarity on the duties and responsibilities of the President, the Governor, and entities in DIFC.

Law No. (5) of 2021 was issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE

What has changed
The new Law allows the DIFC President to exempt certain federal and local government authorities, companies and other entities from any DIFC laws applicable to them when present in the Centre. In such cases, only UAE federal and local laws will apply to them. This is an important addition to allow the increasing number of federal and local government authorities in DIFC to be exempted from certain DIFC laws that were never intended to apply to them.

It also ensures the free zone’s operational, financial and administrative independence that is “crucial for the continued growth and success”

Also, as important, the Dispute Resolution Authority that existed will operate as two separate bodies under the new Law in the form of the DIFC Courts and the Arbitration Institute. This will allow each “maximum opportunity for growth and proper allocation of resources in respect of their separate mandates”.

More change
The revised Law also provides clarity on what DIFC establishments may do outside their physical premises in the Centre. They may supply services and products to customers outside DIFC, as long as they are primarily provided out of their premises in the Centre. Marketing and promotion of their activities can be conducted outside DIFC.