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General and Legal News from the UAE – July 2021 № 2

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published on 14 July 2021 | reading time approx. 3 minutes

 

The following provides a brief overview about the latest business, economic and legal news from all around the United Arab Emirates and GCC region.

 

    

UAE to enter 25 new markets to boost foreign trade

In the coming years the UAE is seeking to grow its national exports by 50 per cent by aiming to expand to 25 new international markets. This was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. This move is a further step the UAE takes in diversifying its economy and lessening its dependence on the oil sector. Sheikh Mohammed tweeted “In a cabinet meeting I chaired at Abu Dhabi’s Qasr al Watan, we have adopted the National Agenda for Non-Oil Export Development to access 25 new global markets and advance our foreign trade.” With a current network reaching 400 cities worldwide the UAE’s non-oil trade exceeds Dhs 1,5 trillion per annum. This equals a contribution of 70 per cent annually of non-oil sectors to the national economy, which by the recent announcement is yet planned to be increased by 50 per cent in the coming years. Part of boosting the national economy is also the National Manual for Measurement of Research and Development Expenditure in the government sector aiming at strengthening the knowledge-based economy. Further legislative amendments have been approved in the following sectors: economy, education, healthcare and emergency response and crisis management.
 

Covid-19: UAE bans citizens from flying to India, Pakistan, other countries on curbs list

The UAE had banned entry from countries highly affected by the coronavirus recently. On 1st July the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) as well as the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announced the prohibition of UAE citizens travelling to the following countries: Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia. In line with the summer travelling season the Ministry as well as the NCEMA urged UAE citizens and residents travelling to other permitted travel areas to adhere to the rules and regulations of the respective visited country’s rules and regulations as well as to stick to the UAE’s Covid-19 counter measures and to register in the countries “Tawajudi” service ahead of their departure.
 

Covid-19 in Oman: Total lockdown to be imposed during Eid-Al-Adha

Authorities in Oman have announced a total lockdown during the days of Eid-Al-Adha, where tighter, preventive measures will be put in place in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. Starting Friday 16th July until Saturday 31st July all commercial activities as well as movement of vehicles and individuals will be banned from 5pm to 4am and throughout the whole day during Eid-Al-Adha. Eid prayers and family gatherings will not be allowed either. Furthermore travel restrictions have been updated and travelers from the following countries are banned from entry into the Sultanate: Argentina, Brunei, Darussalam, Columbia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Singapore and Tunisia. The ban on entry from Egypt has been lifted.

UAE announces emergency approval of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine

Following Moderna’s submission of all documents required to proof the fulfillment of UAE regulations and respecting global standards ensuring the safety of the use of the vaccine, the UAE has decided to approve the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.  Clinical Studies based on the US Food & Drug Administration FDA approval had shown that the vaccine is safe for use. The emergency registration of Moderna has been announced on 4th July by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) as part of the UAEs strategy to put the health and safety of its people as a priority. The country ensured the completion of clinical trials as well as a strict assessment in order to safely approve the local emergency use of the vaccine and to provide yet another effective vaccine as an efficient response to fighting the pandemic. In order to reach the recovery phase and community immunization so far an impressive 15 million vaccine doses have been given as part of the National Vaccine Campaign.
 

UAE: New Cabinet Resolution on FTA penalties

Effective from 28 June 2021 Cabinet Decision No.(49) of 2021 will be amending Cabinet Decision No. (40) of 2017 on Administrative Penalties for violations of Tax Law in the UAE. Most notably, the new Cabinet Decision No. (49) of 2021 generally reduces the Value Added Tax (VAT) penalties for non-compliance. Significantly more time is given to taxpayers to settle underpaid taxes before the imposition of late payment penalties. Furthermore, whereas the variable penalties have been increased for not filing a voluntary disclosure prior to an audit notification , the variable penalties for correcting filing errors through a voluntary disclosure before the FTA notifies the taxpayer of an audit have been reduced. Moreover, in case taxpayers meet certain conditions they might also benefit from a waiver of up to 70 per cent of unpaid penalties. These amendments give businesses the opportunity to review their tax filing history in order to give them a chance to voluntarily disclose any errors prior to an audit notification.
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