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New venture seeks to pave way for Israeli businesses in UAE

Virtuzone, an Emirates–based firm that helps companies set up operations locally, has formed a joint venture with APEX Holdings, an operator of firms in the UAE

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

From L to R: US Secretary Mnuchin, PM Netanyahu and UAE UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer at a ceremony during which Israel and the UAE signed four bilateral agreements at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport, October 20, 2020 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
From L to R: US Secretary Mnuchin, PM Netanyahu and UAE UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer at a ceremony during which Israel and the UAE signed four bilateral agreements at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport, October 20, 2020 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

With Israeli companies’ interest in doing business in the United Arab Emirates increasing following the signing of a peace deal between the two countries, Virtuzone, a firm that helps companies set up businesses in the UAE, has formed a joint venture with Apex Holdings, the owner and operator of a number of businesses in the UAE focusing on Israel-UAE trade.

The new joint venture, “Virtuzone Israel,” aims to help Israeli entrepreneurs and companies to access the UAE market, using Virtuzone’s business support services. These services include company registration, jurisdiction selection, bookkeeping, work permits, visas, VAT handling and related essential services for onshore and offshore companies operating in the UAE.

“With our long track-record of registering over 40,000 UAE-domiciled companies and our partnership with Apex Holdings, we are uniquely positioned to help Israeli companies enter the UAE market and to provide the support services they will need for a seamless arrival,” said Virtuzone chairman and co-founder Neil Petch. “We’ve created a dedicated team who understands Israeli business culture and will help support their move to the UAE, which has its own set of unique laws and regulations that foreign corporations will be best served by the right local advisor.”

In September, Israel signed separate bilateral normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, dubbed the Abraham Accords, paving the way for companies to openly forge cooperation ties, some of which already existed but were kept under wraps due to political sensitivities. US President Donald Trump said  Friday that Sudan has also agreed to make peace with Israel, making it the third Arab state to normalize ties as part of US-brokered deals since August.

As one of the Middle East’s largest economies, the UAE offers significant tax benefits to businesses, including 0% tax on corporate and personal income. It also offers high business infrastructure and a strategic geographic position for businesses in Israel that want to expand their reach to Middle Eastern and Asian markets. Direct flights from Tel Aviv to Dubai will only take around three hours.

Virtuzone Israel is working closely with the UAE-Israel Business Council, which helps to build ties that promote trade, innovation and cooperation between the two nations, to identify companies that are looking to move into the UAE market, the two firms said in a statement.

“We have seen such a huge uptick of interest as a result of the Abraham Accords, which bring with it an exciting opportunity for the business community in both the UAE and Israel,” said Apex Holdings executive director and co-founder James Brenig.

The new joint venture will help “the thousands of Israeli companies who are looking to create business operations in the UAE,” he added.

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