SLG Newsletter April 2022

Dear Friends and Clients,

The rosy future lies ahead of us? Are we sure of that after the last 2 1/2 years and what is still to come? We have left some things behind us, at least the fear of pandemics or the belief in trustworthy governments or reliable statesmen. Even the belief in a European long peace has been shaken. But crying and lamenting are of no use. We have to look the present in the bleak eye because life only happens here and now.

One of the most important mistakes that make life difficult for us is generalization. It clouds our ability to criticize, especially when it comes to the manipulation of opinion by the media.

Every war is a humanitarian catastrophe. When world leaders ignore Kant’s categorical imperative, we mutate back into the warring herds of monkeys, most recently addressed in Kubrick’s Odyssey 2000-

But war has already partly disappeared from the front pages of the media, it has become part of everyday journalistic life and no longer brings in new readers.

We are already reveling in the wave of restoring all the comforts of 2020, supposedly inflation is only a short-term phenomenon. What the leaders of our world, economy and finance actually planning for our currencies and our economy, however, remains in the dark.

Lots of new positive developments are now being offered by the UAE. The Golden Visa will be facilitated. The visa stickers in the passport will no longer be necessary but the Emirates ID will replace all residence certificates. Electronic data transfer with government and private companies will be facilitated and simplified.

Mergers & Acquisitions in the Middle East reached unprecedented levels of over 100 billion USD last year. Many European and American companies are merging with Asian companies and turning their backs on the old West. The outlook for the West is not good either, and for many of us, the tide has turned for the better when we realize the incredible opportunities that the Far East and the Middle East offer. The wave of inflation that has already set in forces us to invest in real assets. And such assets can be had far more cheaply outside Europe and offer returns that Europe can only dream of.

The hot summer is not waiting to happen but the heat cannot be transferred to Europe to fight the exploding energy costs in Europe next winter days.


Theodor Strohal

Office News:

Dr. Theodor Strohal joins the trade mission of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce to Thailand and Cambodia from May 10 – 14 and will be speaker on Cambodian legal basic in Phnom Penh on May 12.

Podcast | Investieren und leben in den Nördlichen Emiraten & Ras al khaimah

Our Managing Partner, Jakob Kisser, participated as a guest speaker in a (German language) podcast organized by STM Corporate Group in which he shared his experiences on doing business in the Northern Emirates. You can access the full podcast by clicking on the links below:

Send us an email at if you have any questions on any topics that were covered.

Jakob Kisser talks about the UAE as the “destination of the future” at the GEC Business Breakfast Event

Our UAE Managing Partner Jakob Kisser presented at the German Emirates Club Business Breakfast in Dubai about the UAE as the “Destination of the Future”.

Jakob gave an overview of the fascinating roadmap the UAE has charted for itself for the next decades. The medium and long-term strategies focus on sustainability and progress in various fields such as good government, health, education, infrastructure, tourism, science, environment, achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals, tolerance, and last but not least happiness and wellbeing. As a notable detail: the UAE is planning to establish the first inhabitable human settlement on Mars by 2117.

Jakob’s most relevant conclusions were:

  • The UAE will remain extremely dynamic.
  • The UAE aims to be pioneers in all the key challenges of our time.
  • The UAE will embrace any new technologies and business fields that help achieve its goals.
  • As a consequence, the UAE aims to provide favorable conditions to anybody that can contribute in this regard: businesspeople, investors, workforce, advisors, and facilitators.

The full copy of the presentation can be found here

Strohal Legal Group would like to thank the GEC team for inviting us to the event.


M&A boom in MENA gets close to $100 billion

Mergers & acquisitions activity continues to thrive in the MENA region with deals amounting close to $100 billion. The Middle East and North Africa M&A deals rise by 66% in 2021 amid economic recovery with UAE and Saudi Arabia leading the top spot. Experts foresee continued robust M&A activity in the region in 2022.

The full copy of the article can be found here.

Expo 2020: Impact on the UAE economy

The Expo 2020 has been a huge success and despite the global challenges brought by the pandemic, it has lived up to its theme – “Connecting minds, creating the future”. The event lasted for six months, during which it has built connections from all over the world and contributed to growth and recovery across various sectors in the country. The full article can be downloaded on this link.

UAE will no longer stamp residence visa stickers on passports

As of April 11, 2022, the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security will no longer issue residence stickers to foreigners residing in the UAE. UAE ID cards issued to foreigners residing in the UAE will serve as the alternative form of proof of residence. According to the Authority, the cancellation decision came in response to the decision of the UAE Cabinet to support the development of services provided and to apply best practices to reduce the steps involved in the process of issuance and renewal of the residence. There will be a new unified form for the issuance and renewal of residence and identity cards that include the issuance and renewal of both cards in one application. All the information on the previous residence sticker will be included in the new Emirates ID cards issued to foreigners living in the UAE.

ADBC adds 80 new economic activities

The Abu Dhabi Business Centre (ADBC), a part of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, announced the addition of 80 new economic activities between 2021 and last year. Among the new activities are 40 new commercial activities, 25 professional activities, six industrial activities, five agricultural activities, two crafts activities, and two tourism activities. The number of economic activities with ADBC has now increased to 4062.

UAE Cabinet approves major changes to the visa system by September

The UAE Cabinet has approved the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners to come into effect by September. The amendments aim to boost the country’s potential as a great place to live, work, and invest. Some of the changes include new regulations on golden residency visas, residence visa types, and types of entry visas. Read more about the new regulations here.

Dubai issues new law to regulate digital services

A new law (Law No. (9) of 2022) was issued by the ruler of Dubai regulating the provision of digital services in the emirate. Both public and private sectors are required to provide digital services to their customers. According to the Law, digital services provided in Dubai must be user-friendly and accessible, especially to people of determination. The new law sets out the conditions for the provision of digital services, the adoption of digital identities to subscribe to services, as well as the requirements for cybersecurity set by the Dubai Electronic Security Center. It also covers the conditions for electronic payment solutions approved by the Department of Finance in Dubai; service continuity in the event of disruptions; digital services approved by the Digital Dubai Authority; and provision of services in Arabic, English, and other languages. Customers are required to update their information submitted to digital service providers and adhere to the terms and conditions outlined by the entity. Customers will be held accountable for misusing the service and not adhering to the required procedures.

This Law will come into force from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette. You may read more about the new law on this link.

Ministry of Economy announces new policy for suppliers to raise prices of basic food items

The Ministry of Economy has announced a new regulation that requires suppliers to provide evidence to justify the hike in commodities. Goods are divided into two main groups:

  1. The first is subject to the condition of prior approval in the event the supplier desires to raise its price as a result of the high import costs. In this case, they are required to apply for approval via the Ministry of Economy website, through a system that is specifically designated for this service.
  2. the ministry exempted suppliers from the need for prior approval and that they are subject to supply and demand variations, explaining that these goods were chosen based on their abundance, high price competitiveness, and a large number of suppliers of these goods to ensure the existence of multiple alternatives in various markets of the country.

To keep the prices in control, the MOE is regularly monitoring the prices of 300 most sought-after basic commodities across more than 40 outlets in the country. Any unjustified increase in the price constitutes a violation, which exposes the suppliers to legal consequences.

New corporate identity for Dubai Chambers

Dubai Chambers has rebranded and announced its new corporate identity after it adopted its 2022-2024 strategy. A new structure under Dubai Chambers brings together three chambers of commerce, namely the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the Dubai International Chamber, and the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, each with their own brands, strategies, and specialized approaches.

  1. Dubai Chamber of Commerce – provides support, representation, and protection to businesses in Dubai, while exploring new ways to meet the changing needs of Dubai’s growing and dynamic business community.
  2. Dubai International Chamber – supports Dubai’s vision of expanding to international markets, forging new business partnerships, and supporting local businesses in achieving global success, as well as attracting highly skilled candidates and investors.
  3. Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy – works to establish the world’s best digital infrastructure and transform Dubai into an international technology hub and support the interests of technology companies and advance the role of the digital economy in the emirate.

Far East:

Economic recovery to continue, but risks increase in Thailand

According to the minutes of the Bank of Thailand (BoT’s) last policy meeting, the economy will continue to recover, driven by improved local demand and foreign tourist numbers. A prolonged shortage of raw materials, coupled with rising prices, has increased the risks to short-term growth. The BoT forecasts economic growth of 3.2% this year and 4.4% next year, with foreign tourists at 5.6 million and 19 million, respectively. It predicted inflation at 4.9% this year, exceeding its target range of 1-3%, before slowing to 1.7% next year.

Thailand’s government plans to tax stock market sales this year

Finance Ministry is sticking to its plan to introduce a financial transaction tax on local stock investors this year after seeing the local market grow. According to Thailand’s Finance Minister, stock investors will be subject to a financial transaction tax this year after the tax was waived for more than 30 years. As of right now, it is unclear when the exact date of the implementation is, but the Stock Exchange of Thailand will be informed in advance of the tax collection plan.

ERC seeks new investors for state programmes in Thailand

Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) plans to invite more investors to join state programmes to further develop gas and electricity management. The move will be based on a free market concept, in which companies will be allowed to fairly compete in supplying gas and electricity. ERC will assist in the development of the country by pushing ahead with its key energy projects, as well as removing legal obstacles to the participation of new investors.

RT-PCR Tests are no longer needed to visit Thailand

Starting in May, RT-PCR tests for foreign visitors will be replaced by antigen tests. There will be more airport personnel deployed to ensure a smooth and quick process. It should only take 15-30 minutes for results to be processed on-site, so tourists do not have to stay overnight and wait for the results of RT-PCR tests.
If tourists (or residents) have obtained the online “Thailand Pass” prior to arrival in Thailand, no test at all is required on the airport. The new regulation aims to attract more visitors and revive the struggling tourism sector in the country.

Bank of Thailand eases foreign exchange regulations

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) announced further easing of foreign exchange regulations for easier capital movement and risk management. The latest changes include:

  • reducing limits on transfers,
  • facilitating hedging,
  • removing a requirement for supporting documents,
  • A cap of $50 million will be removed on yearly lending to unaffiliated companies, as will limits on purchases of immovable properties abroad.
  • Allowing outward transfers for more purposes, and removing requirements for prior approval from the BoT.
  • Thai firms will be allowed to buy foreign currencies for transfer domestically as necessary.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Planning and Finance notifies companies to apply for TIN

The Ministry of Planning and Finance reaffirmed the requirement that companies and non-profit organizations must obtain Taxpayer Identification Numbers with the Internal Revenue Department (“IRD”). In order to pay taxes, correspond with the IRD, and transact business with the IRD, taxpayers are required to obtain a TIN. The following deadlines apply to organizations and companies that have not yet received a TIN:

  1. Companies and organizations that were registered with the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration before 1 April 2022 but have not yet secured for a TIN – before 30 June 2022.
  2. Non-profit organizations that were registered with a Myanmar government agency before 1 April 2022 but have not yet secured a TIN – 30 June 2022.
  3. Companies, organizations, and non-profit organizations that are incorporated or registered on or after 1 April 2022 – within 90 days from the date of incorporation or registration.
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