Free Zone Trade Structuring

Ocorian Abax has specific expertise in supporting companies that wish to trade in Asia and Africa, by helping them to structure in a Free Zone, in either UAE or Mauritius. Free Zones present fiscal and non-fiscal advantages which make them attractive for cross-border trading. These include low corporate tax rates, duty free import and export, preferential access to regional markets and warehousing and processing facilities next to sea and air ports.

Mauritius Freeport Company

A Freeport operator is licensed by the Economic Development Board (EDB) to carry out physical trading with the freeport of Mauritius. Freeport zones are available at both the seaport and airport, enabling sea-to-sea or sea-to-air or air-to-air trading.

Freeport companies can be set up in Mauritius to carry out the following activities:

  • Warehousing and storage limited to 24 months
  • Bulk breaking
  • Labelling, packaging and re-packaging
  • Export and re-export oriented seaport and airport based activities
  • Light assembly and minor processing
  • Freight forwarding services

Advantages of Freeport companies:

  • Duty free and VAT free imports and exports on goods and equipment
  • 100% foreign ownership allowed
  • Reduced port-handling charges
  • Access to regional markets
  • Global Trading (now subject to 3% corporation tax)
  • Entry into the domestic market

UAE Free Zone Company

Entities based in UAE free zones are not subject to the ownership restrictions contained in the Commercial Companies Law in respect of the Emirati partner or agent. Free Zones are designated and self-regulated areas established by a Royal Decree, comprising essentially of two main decisions:

  • Establishment of a Free Zone authority with necessary financial and administrative independence, and the legal capacity to determine and regulate the businesses and activities to be conducted in the free zone area; and
  • Delimitation of specific free zone area(s) falling under the supervision of the free zone authority and allowing 100% foreign ownership. Each free zone has its own specific requirements regarding minimum office or warehouse space, and permitted activities.

Advantages of the UAE Free Zone Company

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Virtual office facility, sparing the cost of a full-fledged office
  • Access to trading platform and logistic hub
  • Access to an extensive tax treaty network
  • 15-50 year tax holiday

Apart from registration and licensing, the free zone authorities normally provide the following service:

  • UAE residence and visit visa applications for both employees and their families;
  • Arbitrage facilities for disputes between employer and employee;
  • Attestation services; and
  • Issue of No Objection Certificates (NOCs) and other official documents.