Trading business ideas in Dubai


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Dubai is one of the world’s most famous trading locations. From pearls and precious metals to oil and now on to all manner of wares – technology, garments, vehicles and much more.

There are many reasons for the emirate’s popularity as a trading hub. For one, businesses in the UAE benefit from 0% tax on both corporate and personal income. When operating from a free zone, you’ll also benefit from 100% customs tax exemption as well as zero currency restrictions.

Then there is Dubai’s strategic location at the heart of the Middle East, with direct links to markets in Asia, Africa and Europe by land, sea and air. On top of this is the UAE’s efficient and time-tested company formation process, which with the right advice and guidance can be completed in a matter of days.

When you start a trading business in the UAE you are free to buy and sell all manner of goods under a general trading license. And there are plenty of fruitful niches to choose from. Below are three trading business ideas that many are seeing success with out here. If you’d like to join them, keep reading.

UAE trading business ideas

Garments trading business

If you’ve spent time out here in Dubai, you’ll know that fashion is big business in this part of the world. The local population has an eye for style, and the emirate’s malls are lined with both local boutiques and the biggest and most prestigious brands – including household names like Gucci and Prada.

Such is the appetite for the finest garments in this part of the world that the UAE fashion industry is predicted to generate revenues of USD 2.5bn in 2021.

Tyre trading business

The automotive industries are thriving in Dubai, whether that’s selling complete vehicles or trading in parts. One area that many do not realise is such big business out here is in tyre trading.

In fact, Dubai is one of the major global players in this market, importing and exporting tyres to and from the vast markets of China, Japan, India and Iran. Such is the scale of the operation that the UAE tyre trading market is worth an estimated USD 1.5bn.

Fruits and nuts trading business

Foodstuffs are one of the UAE’s largest exports, with oils, juices, meat, soft drinks, spices and more traded with nations around the world. Meanwhile, our food imports are expected to reach USD 400bn by 2025, up from USD 100bn in 2015.

Making up a considerable part of that market is the trade in fruits and nuts. In fact, the export value of ‘vegetables, fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid’ was USD 7.75m in 2019.

So, if you’re looking to make your name in fruit and nut trading, you’ll find a receptive and growing market here in the UAE.

Steps to start a trading business in Dubai, UAE

The first step in obtaining a license to trade in the UAE is to decide on your business activities. These must be clearly listed as part of your license application. While a general trading license allows you to trade multiple goods under a single license, you must stipulate every single one. There are thousands of potential options, so you are sure to find one or more that align with your business.

Another important early step is choosing your company name. When making this decision, be aware that you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions.

You should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting.

With this decision made, you can apply for your trade license. This application should be made to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) or equivalent Municipality if you wish to set up elsewhere in the emirates. You can also start a trading business from a UAE free zone.

The process is much more straightforward when you work with a company setup agent like Set Hub. We can establish and manage the application to ensure a fast and smooth incorporation process.

Documents required to start a trading business in Dubai, UAE

When applying to start a trading business in the UAE you will usually be required to submit the following documentation:

  • A completed application form.
  • Articles of incorporation (if necessary).
  • Passport copies for all shareholders.
  • Brief descriptions of intended business activities.


What is the cost of starting a trading business in Dubai, UAE?

Trading licenses are available for around AED 10,000-15,000. However, this can increase significantly depending on the size and nature of your business. Plus, you’ll need to account for visas, premises and equipment, along with the cost of your license.

For a full breakdown of all costs involved in starting a trading business in Dubai, get in touch with Set Hub

Are you ready to launch your online business in Dubai, UAE?

Hopefully, this initial guide has made clear that, if you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a trading business doesn’t have to be overly complex.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a business setup specialist in Dubai such as Business Incorporation Zone when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your license application,Set Hub can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.

We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visa applications required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.