A Comprehensive Guide to Trading in Dubai

A Comprehensive Guide to Trading in Dubai


Ambia Hoque


Hey there, future traders of Dubai! Are you looking to set up your trading business in one of the most thriving economic hubs in the world? Well, you’re in luck, as we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you make your mark when you commence your trading operations in Dubai.

In this article, you’ll learn about Dubai’s various advantages, such as its strategic location, attractive tax benefits, diversified trades, and relaxed visa rules. We’ll also walk you through setting up a trading business, obtaining a general trading licence, and exploring the opportunities and market access within Dubai.

So, buckle up and prepare to enter the dynamic world of trading in Dubai, where endless possibilities await you. The Dubai stock trading realm has so much for you to explore! So, what are you waiting for – time to start trading! 

Why is Dubai the best place for trading businesses?

What We Will Cover

We will explain the importance of the following:

  • Dubai Stock Market
  • Dubai Stock Trading
  • Opening a Trading Account and Bank Account
  • NASQUQ Dubai and Nasdaq Dubai Listed Securities
  • A brokerage firm
  • The Dubai World Trade Centre
  • Trade Stocks
  • Investment Instruments
  • Trading Transactions
  • The DFM Trading Floor
  • How to have a Continuous Trading Session
  • Importance of a Licensed Broker

Strategic Location

Dubai’s prime geographical position makes it a dream destination for your trading business. Nestled between Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe, this city serves as a meeting point for global trade, seamlessly connecting these essential regions.

Dubai’s Economy

With a diversified economy and a non-oil GDP contribution of around 72%Dubai flaunts one of the world’s highest per capita incomes– another excellent reason for an investor among you to start trading in Dubai! The International Doing Business Index ranked the UAE 16th out of 190 economies in 2020, further accentuating its business and investor-friendly atmosphere.

Dubai Cityscape

Trade Rules

Dubai’s local authorities have crafted an investor-centric environment, providing supportive measures and a well-maintained ecosystem for trading businesses. Some alluring trading rules and policies include liberal trade regimes and tax advantages, sustaining the city’s continuous economic growth.

Tax Benefits

Traders in Dubai can enjoy various tax benefits, such as double taxation agreements and international trading partners, which help importers and exporters minimise their tax liabilities. Plus, many goods are tax-free, paving the way for innovation, low-cost manufacturing and potentially higher profits.

Open Trade

Embracing a free trade policy, Dubai does not discriminate between imports and exports of a foreign jurisdiction. This open trade approach enables traders to forge more robust international trade relations, further propelling the trading sector.

Diversified Trades

With plans to boost direct foreign investment, Dubai’s trading sector is incredibly diverse. The city also intends to expand various restricted sectors within the region, ensuring that the country and trading industry remains resilient and appealing to investors.

Profitable Commercial Laws

Operating under profitable commercial laws like the Unified Economic Agreement of 1981 (UEA) under the GCC, this agreement established a free trade area between GCC states. These laws create a more unified and accessible trading environment for businesses.

Relaxed Visa Rules

One of the key advantages of trading in Dubai is its relaxed visa rules, making it more straightforward for investors to obtain visas and sponsor dependent visas for their loved ones. This flexibility is crucial for attracting global talent and investment.

Setting Up a Trading Business in Dubai

To set up a trading business in Dubai, you’ll need a National Investor Number (NIN) and an account with a licensed broker listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). Dubai has two financial markets: the Dubai Financial Market and Nasdaq Dubai, allowing locals and foreign nationals to trade securities, equities, and Sukuk. When choosing a broker, it’s essential to consider the list of services they offer, the technology they employ, and their fee schedule. Trading options in Dubai include listed equities, derivatives, market-traded funds (ETFs), and Sukuk and bonds. Remember to keep an eye on your investment portfolio when trading stocks in the UAE.

Trade Licences in Dubai

A general trading licence is required for importing, manufacturing, distributing, and re-exporting products in Dubai. This licence covers most products, with a few exceptions for specific or sensitive items. A general trading licence is relatively easy and can be completed within a week through the Department of Economic Development (DED). Traders with a general trading licence can conduct local and international trade, benefiting from Dubai’s tax-free economy and other incentives. The cost of a trade licence in Dubai varies depending on the type of business and jurisdiction, typically ranging from AED 15,000 to AED 50,000. The trade licence time limit is one or two years, after which it must be renewed.

Attractive Features for Businesses

Dubai’s thriving commercial scene, fueled by a substantial expat and investor population, creates a vast market for various products and services. The tax-free incentives and streamlined licensing processes make it an ideal destination for businesses dealing with import, manufacturing, distribution, and re-export activities. Obtaining a general trading licence, which covers a wide range of products and services, is a hassle-free process, taking just a week to complete through the DED. Additionally, businesses with a general trading licence are exempt from submitting auditing reports, simplifying their yearly financial responsibilities.

The general trading licence also facilitates visa applications for employees and dependents on behalf of investors, making it easier for businesses to bring in talent and services from abroad.

Advanced Infrastructure and Support

Dubai’s advanced infrastructure, including the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), established in 2000, offers investors a well-regulated and supportive environment. The UAE government contributes to this pro-business climate by assisting with documentation and trading accounts and implementing policies such as allowing foreign investors to own 100% of the equity of their UAE companies.

Companies listed on the Dubai Financial Market are part of three major stock indices: the Dubai Financial Market General Index, the DFM Shariah Index (DFMSI), and the UAE ESG Index (UAE ESGI). To actively participate in trading, investors must obtain a Investor Number Index Number (NIN), which can be obtained by completing an investor number request form .You can register an account with a Dubai Financial Market-listed broker. Factors to consider when choosing a broker include the range of services offered, their technological capabilities, and their fee structure.

As a global trading hub, Dubai’s robust economy, strategic location, and government support make it an attractive destination for businesses of all sizes. With tax-free incentives, easy licensing procedures, and advanced infrastructure, Dubai offers numerous advantages for local and international traders.

Dubai Cityscape

Trading Opportunities and Market Access in Dubai

Dubai’s well-regulated and investor-friendly environment extends to its stock market offerings, with both the Dubai Financial Market and Nasdaq Dubai providing ample opportunities. To begin your trading journey, secure a reliable broker from the authorised list supplied by the Dubai Financial Market, and consider a brokerage firm for the range of services, technology, and fees they offer.

It is essential to choose a broker with advanced features such as Direct Market Access (DPA) and margin trading, as well as a comprehensive mobile app and online trading platform. This empowers you to manage your portfolio independently and access real-time and historical pricing data. Be aware of the fees involved, including account opening, maintenance, portfolio management, and transaction fees.

As a trader in Dubai, you can explore various investment options, including listed equities, derivatives, ETFs, Sukuk, and bonds. Derivatives and futures are available through Dubai Financial Market’s partnerships with multiple brokers, market makers, and technology partners. ETFs offer advantages such as low management fees, lower minimum investment requirements compared to mutual funds, and excellent liquidity.

For more risk-averse investors, bonds and Sukuk securities provide returns ranging between 3% and 7%. With 175 Sukuk or Islamic bonds and 97 conventional bonds listed on the Dubai Financial Market, there is a wide selection of securities to choose from.

The Dubai Financial Market app serves as a comprehensive solution for traders, offering market performance updates, pricing information, investor card application and account management, portfolio views, and access to eServices. The investor card is a Visa-supported debit card that allows instant access to dividends and profits from your trading portfolio. Use the Investor card only at any Visa-supported merchants or withdraw money from ATMs in the UAE and abroad. You can also add funds to the investor card through the Dubai Financial Market app.

In summary, Dubai’s strategic location, connectivity, and pro-business environment make it an ideal destination for trading businesses. The city’s government support and advanced market infrastructure pave the way for investors and traders to excel.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Trading Business in Dubai

Obtaining Your National Investor Number

Begin your trading journey by acquiring a NIN, a national investor number necessary to trade on both the Dubai Financial Market and Nasdaq Dubai. This unique identifier grants you access to various investment opportunities.

Choosing a Broker and Opening a Trading Account

After obtaining your NIN:

  1. Select a trustworthy broker from the Dubai Financial Market list.
  2. Carefully research each option, as your broker plays a significant role in your trading success.
  3. Once you’ve chosen a broker, open a trading account to start trading and exploring investment options.

Exploring Diverse Investment Opportunities

Dubai offers your clients a wide array of trading options, enabling you to find the ideal investment opportunity that aligns with your needs and goals. Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your objectives and strategies before beginning.

Selecting the Ideal Business Location

Choose the perfect location for your business, whether in Dubai’s mainland, free zones, or offshore areas. If opting for a free zone on the mainland, you’ll need a local sponsor who will own 51% of your business.

Applying for a General Trading licence

Submit the necessary documentation, such as a Memorandum of Association, licence application, will statement and copies of each partner’s visa and passport, to apply for a general trading licence. Once your trade name is added to Dubai’s commercial registry, you’ll receive details of your trading licence to date from the DED.

Monitoring Your Investment Portfolio

Regularly observe your investment portfolio to spot trends, track progress, track and make informed decisions about buying and selling. Consider using alerts or portfolio tracking tools to stay updated on your investments.

By following these simple steps and staying engaged with your portfolio, you can achieve success in the dynamic world of trading in Dubai.

A Dubai City Waterscape Popular For Trading

Additional Advantages of a General Trading Licence in Dubai

Expanding Business Opportunities

A general trading licence not only allows for the management of a wide variety of products but also offers numerous growth possibilities. With access to bank account non-bank financing options and beneficial commercial laws, such as the 1981 Unified Economic Agreement and membership in the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, businesses can further expand their operations.

Efficient Licensing Procedure

Obtaining a general trading licence in Dubai is a straightforward process, taking only a week to complete through the DED website. This efficient procedure saves valuable time and resources, enabling entrepreneurs to focus on their core business activities.

Simplified Visa Regulations

The general trading licence also improves visa regulations for employees and dependents, fostering a strong business community within the UAE market. Introducing a 10-year visa for top-tier talents and investors further attracts global professionals.

Reduced Annual Auditing Expenses

Businesses with a general trading licence are exempt from submitting annual auditing reports, allowing them to save on auditing expenses and concentrate on their primary business pursuits.

In conclusion, a general trading licence in Dubai provides businesses many opportunities, including tax-free incentives, a diverse product range, an efficient licensing process, and simplified visa regulations. These advantages make Dubai an exceptional destination for local and international entrepreneurs looking to establish thriving trading ventures.

The Ultimate Destination for Trading Success

Dubai has proven itself as the ultimate destination for trading businesses, where investors and traders can reap the benefits of strategic location, pro-business environment, and advanced infrastructure. With numerous incentives like tax benefits, diversified trade opportunities, and relaxed visa rules, Dubai offers an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and grow.

Investing in Dubai’s trading sector allows you to capitalise on various investment options and market trends while benefiting from a simplified and efficient business setup process. The general trading licence grants access to multiple products and enriches your investment portfolio, ensuring a lasting impact on your business’s success.

To fully leverage the potential of Dubai as a trading hub, it’s essential to stay engaged with your investment portfolio, monitor market news and trends, and choose the right business partners. By doing so, you’ll be on the path to success in Dubai’s dynamic and rewarding world of trading. Take advantage of the opportunity to join this flourishing economy and expand your business horizons in the global trading arena.


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