UAE 2009 inflation seen at 3.5 to 4%


(A figure of) 3.5 to 4 percent-that is what we are expecting this year," Mansouri told reporters yesterday. "There has been a 20 to 40 percent reduction in prices so far this year. Average food prices are lower than international prices," Mansouri said.

Asked whether the UAE faces risks of deflation this year, Mansouri said, "No, we should not worry about it." He also said a law for the industrial sector that could allow 100 percent foreign ownership outside free zones was in "draft stage".

The new industrial law gives the option of 100 percent ownership to attract foreign industries," he said. "A lot of (international) industries want to move here, provided the industrial law comes. So we must create the right environment.

Currently, foreigners can set up industries in the different free zones across the UAE with 100 percent ownership. "This is separate from the free zones," Mansouri said, adding he was looking to attract high-tech, high-value industries with large investments.

The foreign investments law was also in the final stages and should be ready by the year-end, he said. "We have completed it. It is now with the technical and legal committee and will be submitted to the cabinet within two months.

Asked if foreign companies would be allowed to own 100 percent ownership as compared to the present 49 percent, he said, "Everything is open. We have to wait."


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