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What is the difference between general trading and a trading license in UAE?

UAE is popularly known as the business hub of the Middle East. Over the last 2 decades, there has been an immense growth in the financial, business, trade and logistics sectors, due to which their contribution towards the world economy is substantial. There are many businesses interested in trading goods with neighboring countries; such people should have a valid general trading license to do the same.

What is a general trade license?

If a company wishes to export, import or trade goods or products like clothes, accessories, furniture, electronics, etc., it can apply for a general trade license. A businessman who seeks opportunities in import and export in the UAE should have a general trade license. If you have multiple trading activities that are in the same or different industry then a general trade license covers it all. Although costlier, having this license has its own perks and advantages. But there are certain products, like guns, cars, alcohol and medical products, which cannot be permitted to be traded through general trade license as these products require approval from higher authorities or clearances from UAE municipalities. However, those products are traded under a commercial trade license after going through the approval process.

Why should one apply for a general trade license in the UAE?

The approximate cost required to have a general trade license in the UAE is AED 30,000 to AED 40,000, depending upon several factors. A general trading license in the UAE can also be used as a legal holding structure within the UAE and other licensing authorities. The same is used for storage and warehousing.

The advantages of having a general trading license in the UAE are as follows:

  1. No Taxes:Any business would want to make a trading tax-free. One of the most important advantages of having a general trading license in the UAE is paying zero taxes. The holder of such a license doesn’t have to pay taxes on profits, income or on any other amount.

  2. Trade locally and internationally:By acquiring a general trade license, one can trade beyond borders. A trader can exploit all the possibilities of doing a business in local, national and international markets to gain profits.

  3. Straightforward Process:It is quite easy to get a general trade license in the UAE. This license is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai. The whole process has been made hassle-free as an initiative from the government. In fact, applying for a general trade license is easier than setting up a company in a free zone. The whole process takes around 1 week once you share the necessary documents with the DED, and you are all set to start your business anywhere in UAE.

  4. Apply for Multiple Visas:After getting a general trade license, one can apply for multiple visas for their employees. It depends on the size of the office; the bigger your office, the more visas you can get. Additionally, the businessman can also sponsor visas for dependents, i.e., spouse, child, parents, maid, driver, etc. But one should ensure to get an expert’s advice before commencing since this is an important process.

  5. Auditing Is Not Mandatory:Unlike other jurisdictions, one doesn’t have to submit auditing reports to government authorities in the UAE if they have a general trading license. Therefore they do not have to go through a yearly auditing process.

Apart from these, there are various banking facilities available for personal and corporate purposes. A company with a general trading license is allowed to have 100% repatriation of capital as well as profits. They do not have to deposit share capital in UAE banks. Due to these and several other facilities made available for the licensee, traders are getting wonderful opportunities to utilize their resources and become successful.



Trade License in Dubai, UAE is issued by the department of economic development authority which permits the businessmen to do business in UAE. For certain categories of business, it needs approval from concerned ministries and other relevant authorities: For example, banks and other financial institutions must need permission from the central bank of the UAE, the insurance companies and related agencies need approval from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the manufacturing business requires permission from the Ministry of Finance and Industry and pharmaceutical and medical products should obtain from the Ministry of Health. All the commercial and industrial businesses in UAE should be registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the respective Emirate.

Types of Trade License in UAE

The business activities in the country can be subdivided into the following types of licenses.

Commercial licenses including all kinds of trading activities.

Professional licenses – professions, services, craftsmen and artisans.

Industrial licenses for establishing industrial or manufacturing activity.

Obtaining Trade License in Dubai, UAE is relatively a simple process.

Requirements to obtain Trade license in UAE:

When planning your business in UAE, it is worth to have the following legal requirements applicable in all concerned government authorities in order to guarantee maximum commercial benefit for the business owners.

Designate the business category, commercial, industrial and/or professional

Determine all the related business activities within each business license (Maximum 10 activities per license)

Plan your business legal status in UAE

Select the trading name

application to the Department for initial approval

Lease business premises and obtain approval from the Authority

Prepare all required documents such as a memorandum of association and approvals from other relevant government authorities.

With a valid Trade License in Dubai, UAE one can do business in Dubai, UAE.

So after going through the above discussions, one can easily decide which business license one should have but it all depends upon his or her business requirements. Further, Should you decide to open a business here.


What does a general trading company do?

Trading companies are businesses working with different kinds of products which are sold for consumer, business or government purposes. Trading companies buy a specialized range of products, maintain a stock or a shop, and deliver products to customers.

Different kinds of practical conditions make for many kinds of business. Usually two kinds of businesses are defined in trading.

Importers or wholesalers maintain a stock and deliver products to shops or large end customers. They work in a large geographical area, while their customers, the shops, work in smaller areas and often in just a small neighbourhood.

Today "trading company" mainly refers to global B2B traders, highly specialized in one goods category and with a strong logistic organization. Changes in practical conditions such as faster distribution, computing and modern marketing have led to changes in their business models.