doing business in the UAE ⋆ Business American

In recent years, the UAE has developed into an attractive business center. It’s no surprise to see why so many people are drawn to the UAE to do business. There is a favorable environment for business to flourish, and there is little government intervention. In addition, the UAE is considered one of the least corrupt countries.

Free zones enjoy property rights, privacy, and tax exemption. You can start a business in any of the 7 emirates. When doing business anywhere in the UAE, remember that the region is under Islamic law. There is a fine line between life in general, business and religion.

Doing business in a free zone

Customs laws for businesses in free zones are different from those in the mainland. Certain goods are prohibited in duty-free and free zones, depending on their nature of origin.

Prohibited goods refer to those goods that are not allowed for business either for export or import in accordance with the uniform customs legislation. GCC countries or the provisions of any other relevant laws. Prohibited goods include radioactive materials, ammunition, weapons and explosives, drugs and goods from boycotted countries.

Business etiquette in the UAE

Business etiquette is an acceptable way of behaving in a business setting. To break this is rude and offensive. The following business etiquette ideas will help you understand what is expected:

Islam and culture

Doing business in the UAE requires you to be familiar with the Islamic culture and lifestyle of the people. The legal system is based on Sharia law, which is against criticism of Islam, proselytizing and speaking photographs of people without consent. In order to avoid confusion, it is necessary to seek help from legal consultants in Dubai. The success of your business depends on how well you understand the culture.


Although Arabic is the most spoken language in the UAE, people also speak English, Russian, French, Hindi, etc. Almost all official forms, documents, decrees and laws are drawn up in Arabic. Therefore, it is necessary to have some knowledge of the language. English is also widely spoken. Although most of the written correspondence is often in English, it is preferable to print one side in Arabic. During meetings, exchange business cards immediately after greeting, present the card with your right or both hands. Do not offer or receive anything with your left hand.


The UAE is an Islamic country, which means they worship every Friday. Unlike other countries, the work week starts on Monday and ends on Thursday. Weekends are Friday and Saturday. Private companies may work with split or direct shifts. If you have scheduled business meetings during Ramadan, it is very important for you to participate in this post. Some restaurants have places where non-Muslims can eat.


You should always dress appropriately in public and at work. Both men and women should dress modestly. Avoid open clothing and shoes; arms, shoulders and legs should be covered. Business suits are more appropriate and acceptable for men. Dark colors are more professional than bright colors. Women should wear business attire that covers the knees. If you are non-Muslim, you do not need to wear the hijab, but you must be modest.


Business meetings in the UAE begin with a greeting. You must greet the oldest person in order to show respect first according to Islamic culture. Greeting your partners with the help of “Assalam alaykum” means peace for you, the answer should be “we, alaykum alaykum”, it means peace to you and to you.

Men can greet their partners with their right hand. The left hand is considered unclean. Women should refrain from any contact with the body. Women can greet each other with a left kiss on the cheek. When greeting a Muslim man, a woman should not offer her hand, wait for the man to offer his hand, and if not, do not try to force it.

Business conversations

Good business relationships are established during the first meeting. You need to get along with your business partner. You can ask about your colleague’s well-being during the conversation. However, avoid asking questions about your colleague’s wife or daughter.

In business conversations, status is very important and you must use the correct names. Usually sheikh (boss) or sheikh is used for lady and sayyid (mr) or sayyid (mrs). You should always reach out to people with a proper name. During business negotiations, you should strive to gain the trust of the other party. Focus on flexibility and set clear goals.

It is easy and profitable to start a business in the UAE, however you need to know the culture and the appropriate way of behavior. Dress modestly and learn a little about the culture of the UAE. It is also advisable to understand how to start a conversation with local residents, especially during negotiations and meetings.

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