Foodstuff trading is a very important business activity in Dubai. It is a major contributor to Dubai’s economy and is an activity that has been prospering in the city for many years. With people from so many nations around the world resident in Dubai, it is no surprise that a thriving and diverse food scene has emerged in recent years, and restaurants can be found serving pretty much any food you desire from anywhere in the world.
Therefore, the Food And Beverage Industry relies on the supply of quality food items. If you want to start a foodstuff trading in Dubai, then you will have to obtain a food trading license in from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.
How do I start a food trading business? The Department of Economic Development in Dubai is responsible for handling all the new business registrations on the mainland of the city. On the other hand, the free zone authorities are responsible for new businesses in their respective free zone.
After you have decided where you want to start your food trading business in Dubai. The next step is to obtain the business trade license from the respective authority.
In the United Arab Emirates, all legal entities must have an authorized trading name for their businesses. As a result, the same standard applies to food trade companies. In addition, you must make a list of three to four names that you want to use as your legal name and submit it to the appropriate authorities. Plus, it can’t be the same as others and can’t have anything blasphemous or offensive. Finally, if you are planning to use your name in the business name, it has to be first name and surname – initials or abbreviations are not permitted.
To run a foodstuff business in Dubai, you will need a commercial license which has to be renewed on a yearly basis. To gain a license, you must apply to the Department for Economic Development and send all relevant forms and supporting documentation to them.
You also need to carefully consider what operations the business will undertake and which foodstuff you will be selling, as some foodstuff will come under sub-activities in the trade licence, such as juice or mineral water trading. In addition, if any activities are not covered by your foodstuff trading licence, you will need external clearance before they can be undertaken.
Another important part of the setup process for a foodstuff business is to choose your premises. Whether it is a warehouse or a storage space, it must meet government requirements, otherwise your application for a business license will be rejected.
These are some of the requirements:
Containers that are free of contamination and composed of high-quality materials
Proper food composition partitioning
Temperature, humidity, and other factors are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep fresh
Sanitation of the warehouse regularly to keep it germ-free
Another step is to ensure your visa is in place, which includes passing a medical test, submitting your Emirates ID registration and ensuring your visa is stamped by the relevant authorities. Entrepreneurs that hold a UAE business licence can also sponsor the visas of other people, such as close family. How many visas you can apply for depends on how big the business is, how it is set up and, if you want visas for any dependents, how much money you earn.
One of the final steps in the process is to set up a business bank account. There are plenty of banks in Dubai that provide business banking services. While there are tough banking laws in the UAE regarding foreigners, which are designed to prevent money laundering, if you have the right documents and a credible business plan in place, then the bank should be willing to open an account for your business.
The Department of Economic Development in Dubai requires some mandatory documents to verify the information you provided in the application form.
Copies of the passports of all the shareholders.
Copies of the visa pages of all the shareholders.
No Objection Letter (NOC) if any of the shareholders has a resident visa.
The tenancy contract and EJARI.
The Memorandum of Association (MOA).
The foodstuff trading license is provided by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.
If you choose to setup a foodstuff trading business in Dubai mainland, it will be setup as a limited liability company (LLC). This business structure follows a 51-49 per cent shareholding structure.
If you wish to setup the Foodstuff trading business in free zone, then you will be able to retain 100% ownership of the business. The exact business setup process may vary between different free zones, but the general procedure for setting up such a company in a free zone is as follows:
Determine the type of legal entity
Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) or Free Zone Company (FZ Co.)
Free Zone Establishment (FZE)
Choose a trade name
Apply for a business license
Choose an office space
Get pre-approvals, register your business, and get the trading license