2 people signing the papers for starting their general trading company in Dubai

Conquering the Desert Sands: Your Guide to Setting Up a General Trading Company in Dubai

by Priyadarshini Balamurugan 14, Feb 2024

Dubai is a jewel that every aspiring entrepreneur wishes to wear. Its boundless ambitions, business-friendly environment, and endless incentives attract people who wish to incorporate their business in Dubai.

For any business, a license is like fuel that helps run your business without any interruption. If you feel the process is going to be like shifting sands without a proper road map, fear not, brave souls. You can trust this blog like a trusty compass that will guide you through the process of starting a general trading company in Dubai.

What is a General Trading Company?

A general trading company in Dubai is a company that holds a license to trade a wide range of goods and services, unlike other licenses that focus only on specific sectors. A General trading license in Dubai offers flexibility in dealing with diverse items across different industries.

Key Aspects of General Trading Company in Dubai

Here are the activities that can be done by a person or a business holding a general trading license in Dubai:

Import and export

Wholesale and Retail

Value-added services

You can source goods from the international market and sell them locally and buy local goods to sell them in overseas markets.

They have the liberty to sell the products in bulk to other businesses or directly to customers.

General trading companies can also get engaged in value-added services such as packaging, labelling, logistics, assembling and manufacturing. 

Benefits of Obtaining a License to Start a General Trading Company in Dubai

Here are the benefits of obtaining a license to start a general trading business in Dubai:

  • The general trading license in UAE allows you to broaden your business activity. It also gives you the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions.
  • General trading business in Dubai can directly buy products from manufacturers in bulk, which will allow them to get the products at very affordable prices.
  • Dubai’s strategic location allows you to have better connectivity with the global market, and that makes it a hub of international trade.
  • Opening a general trading company in Dubai allows you to enjoy low tax rates and even tax exemptions in some cases, depending on the location and activity you choose to be involved in.

Steps to Start a General Trading Company in Dubai

Below are the steps to start a general trading business in Dubai:

  • Avail General Trading License in Dubai

To start a general trading business in Dubai, it is mandatory to get the appropriate license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) or from the relevant authority of any freezone where you wish to incorporate your business.

Office space and staff: A company office and qualified personnel are necessary for operations.   

  • Decide you Sandcastle - The Jurisdiction

Dubai offers two options to start your general trading business in Dubai: mainland and freezone.

On the mainland, you can get access to the entire market with the flexibility of broadening your business activity. 

In the freezone, you get a number of tax benefits and business-friendly regulations for specific industries. Choose your preferred jurisdiction as per your business needs.

  • Decide your Business Activity

General trading company can be involved in a broad range of business activities. Choose the activity you wish to be involved in and, while deciding, be specific to avoid future paperwork. 

  • Get your Documents Ready

Collect all your documents that includes:

  • Visa copies.
  • Licence application.
  • Passport copy of all shareholders. 
  • MoA with all the details of your company.
  • Get initial approvals from relevant authorities.
  • Decide a Location for Your Business

A General trading company in Dubai requires a space before applying for a license because, in some cases, you need to submit your rental agreement, which is also called EJARI, to move further.

  • Open a Corporate Bank Account

For a general trading company in UAE, it is mandatory to open a bank account for managing the financial responsibilities. Along with this you also have to take care about the insurance.

  • Visa Arrangements

Apply for a visa after all the above things are done. You can also get a dependent visa, but the number is based on the size of your business and the place you have rented for your company.

Closing Note

Congratulations, intrepid entrepreneur! By reading this meticulously trustworthy guide you have laid a good foundation to your first step of starting your general trading business in Dubai. 

For more detailed information and guidance through the incorporation process contact Commitbiz. Our experts make you go forth and conquer the business world by guiding you through the process of business setup in Dubai.


What are the most in-demand sectors for general trading in Dubai?

Dubai's diversified economy presents lucrative opportunities across various sectors. Currently, high-growth areas include:

  • Tech and e-commerce: With Dubai's Smart City initiatives and booming online trade, tech-related products and services are hot sellers.
  • Luxury goods: Catering to Dubai's affluent residents and global tourism, luxury fashion, accessories, and homeware remain profitable.
  • Sustainable solutions: Eco-friendly products and technologies are gaining traction, aligning with Dubai's sustainability goals.
  • Healthcare and pharmaceuticals: Dubai's expanding healthcare sector needs reliable medical equipment and pharmaceutical products suppliers.
  • Food and beverage: The F&B industry in Dubai is constantly evolving, creating demand for diverse imported food and beverage items.

What are the key legal and regulatory considerations for setting up a general trading company?

Navigating Dubai's business landscape requires knowledge of specific regulations:

  • Company structure: Choose from options like Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and Sole Establishments, each with distinct requirements.
  • Trade licenses: Obtain the necessary licenses based on your chosen goods and services, like the General Trading License.
  • Visas and work permits: Secure appropriate visas and work permits for yourself and any foreign employees.
  • Local sponsorship: A local sponsor may sometimes be required, depending on your company structure and activities.
  • Customs regulations: Familiarize yourself with import and export regulations to avoid delays and disruptions.

What financing options are available for starting a general trading company in Dubai?

Several financing options can get your business off the ground:

  • Personal investment: Utilize your funds, although this might not cover all your needs.
  • Bank loans: Secure business loans from local banks, often requiring collateral and strong business plans.
  • Angel investors and venture capitalists: Attract investors interested in your company's potential, especially in high-growth sectors.
  • Government grants and subsidies: Explore potential government support for specific industries or innovative ventures.
  • Crowdfunding: Leverage online platforms to raise capital from a wider pool of investors.

How can I connect with potential suppliers and customers in Dubai?

Building a strong network is crucial for success:

  • Attend trade shows and industry events: Network with potential suppliers, customers, and business partners.
  • Utilize online B2B platforms: Connect with suppliers and buyers worldwide through established online platforms.
  • Join business associations and chambers of commerce: Gain access to networking opportunities and industry insights.
  • Hire a local business consultant: Benefit from their expertise in navigating the local market and finding relevant connections.

What are some additional tips for success in the general trading business in Dubai?

  • Focus on a niche market: Identify a specific market segment with high potential and less competition.
  • Build strong relationships: Cultivate partnerships with reliable suppliers and customers based on trust and mutual benefit.
  • Prioritize quality and customer service: Delivering high-quality products and exceptional customer service is key to building a loyal clientele.
  • Embrace technology: Utilize digital tools and e-commerce platforms to streamline operations and reach a wider audience.
  • Stay informed: Keep track of market trends, government regulations, and competitor activities to adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

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