Al Maryah Island: Abu Dhabi’s financial free zone

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Despite rumours circulating for some months, there was still a sense of surprise when it was announced at the end of April that the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), His Highness Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had passed a federal decree creating a financial free zone in Abu Dhabi.

The Decree was subsequently supplemented by a Cabinet Decision that named Al Maryah Island (formerly Sowwah Island and the home of Al Tamimi’s Abu Dhabi Office) as the designated Free Zone. The initial announcement was very light on detail although it was stated to be issued pursuant to a Federal Law of 2004 regarding Financial Free Zones. This is the same Law under which the Dubai International Finance Centre was established. That initial announcement has since been supplemented by an announcement of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi on the first of May filling in a lot of the details…

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