What Is A General Trading License And How It’s Useful

UAE is a business hub of the middle-eastern region and is steadily growing over the last few decades in terms of trade and business. Trading companies and businesses operating in the UAE need a general trading license if they want to trade, import, or export goods. Obtaining this license means you can carry out multiple trading operations related to different industries through a general trading license. 

Let’s dig in deep to find out more about a general trading license and how it can be beneficial for your business. 

General Trading License Explained

As mentioned above, a general trading license allows companies in UAE to import, export, trade, and re-export goods like furniture, clothing, food items, electronics, accessories, etc. There is a long list of goods you can trade using the general trading license. However, there are some exceptions. Firearms, alcohol, medical products, vehicles, and a long list of other items cannot be imported using this license. Companies interested in trading these items have to contact local authorities and secure additional permits and documents obtained from higher authorities.

Difference Between General Trading and Trading License

Most people confuse the general trading license with a trade license as both have similar names and operate similarly. While general trade licenses allow the trade of a lot of goods, trade licenses are awarded by the department of economic development authority permitting a business to operate in the UAE. Before starting their operations, these businesses have to get special permission from the relevant authorities to set up shop. 

For example, if they are granted a license to provide medical and healthcare products, they will require special permission from the ministry of health to begin operations. 

Nevertheless, a general trade license is the best option for small and medium businesses. When setting up your business in UAE, dedicate time to research and find the cheapest general trading license in the UAE to help lower your expenses. Several free trade zones offer amazingly cheap general trading licenses if you want to set up your business there. The costs also depend on a lot of factors that should also be understood before starting your operations. 

Now that we have covered a brief introduction to general trade licensing, let’s look at how a general trade license will be useful in your business:


Companies with a general trading license are not audited every year. The company doesn’t need to submit yearly audit reports to the ministry. This proves to be of great benefit for the business, especially for aspiring ones. 

Easy Process

The process to obtain a general trade license is quite simple. You can contact the Department of Economic Development to learn what the requirements for applying are. The process takes a week, and after that, you will have your license and the freedom to start your business anywhere

Tax Exemption

One of the best perks you could get for a business is tax exemption. The government of UAE exempts businesses holding a general trade license from paying taxes on profits, sales, or any other source.

Trading Options

With a general trading license, you can easily trade throughout the UAE and even offer your services to international clients. 

Establishing a company and obtaining a trade license is easy when done the right way. The process might be lengthy but is not complicated. After applying for a general trading license, the process may take one week to complete. We hope you find the information we shared useful in setting up your next business venture.