15 July 2020

KWM UAE Newsletter – 3rd Issue

Welcome to the King & Wood Mallesons’ UAE newsletter which brings you the latest legal news and business updates for the UAE. We hope you find the newsletter informative and if you have any suggestions please email [email protected] or WeChat ID Evita_Tsui 

UAE eases lockdown restrictions

The UAE government has lifted its curfew and eased restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country. 

There are several new guidelines in place for the UAE including: 

• New guidance has been issued on the use of face masks, which must be worn at all times outside of the house. Children under the age of six, people of determination and those with a medical condition that makes wearing a mask difficult do not need to wear a mask. 

• Social distancing guidelines of at least two meters must be followed at all times while outside of the house. Fines will be issued for anyone in violation of the guidelines. 

• Private sector businesses in onshore Dubai are able to operate at 100% capacity from 3 June 2020 and Dubai’s financial hub DIFC and Dubai Government offices are also now able to operate at 100% capacity.  

• Restaurants, malls, cafes, bars, gyms, cinemas, public beaches and other entertainment venues are now able to open. All venues must operate with strict hygiene practices in place and fines will be issued to businesses found to be in violation of the guidelines. Dubai asked bars and pubs to stop serving alcohol and required restaurants to only serve it with meals.

Expo 2020 postponed to 2021 

Expo 2020 will now take place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. The Expo 2020 authority has stated that the delay “will allow for gearing up to help shape a post-pandemic world and create a better future for all”. 

The China Pavilion will be one of the largest at Expo 2020 Dubai at 4,636 sqm. The pavilion is designed in the shape of a Chinese lantern to symbolise hope and light. The theme of the China Pavilion is “building a community with a shared future for mankind – innovation and opportunity” and aims to highlight China’s innovative scientific and technological achievements in the fields of information, science,technology and transportation.  

ICBC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and has launched a special project of RMB 150 billion (USD 21 billion). The project will help stabilise foreign trade and investment and facilitate the global industrial chain to get companies ready for the Third China International Import and Expo 2020. 


Passenger flights are currently operating to limited routes to and from the UAE. UAE residents can now apply online for approval to return to the UAE ahead of travel from the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship via a dedicated portal https://beta.smartservices.ica.gov.ae or complete the application on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) website directly. 

Travel will only be permitted if the individual receives a negative Covid-19 result and has international health insurance that is valid throughout the period of travel and covers the destination they are travelling to. 

Travelers to Dubai need to fill out a health declaration and provide a negative Covid-19 test from either the country they have travelled from or they can undertake the test on arrival in Dubai and will can isolate until the test results are received. 

There have been several announcements from major UAE airlines Emirates and Etihad on how they are ensuring safety for both staff and customers through the implementation of health checks, sterlisation and reduced services onboard to facilitate social distancing. 

New DIFC data protection law 

The new DIFC Data Protection Law (DPL 2020) will come into effect from 1 July 2020 and is expected to be fully enforced from 1 October 2020 to allow businesses time to implement new processes. The current law will remain in effect until this date. 

The DPL 2020 further develops the current DIFC data protection regime and will increase privacy and compliance requirements for businesses registered in the DIFC. Controllers, processors and data protection officers will now be appointed by DIFC businesses which is consistent with European practices. 

The new law and regulations will also support the DIFC’s bid for ‘adequacy’ recognition by the European Commission, the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions and will enable easier data transfer compliance requirements for businesses registered in DIFC. 

For more information on the DPL 2020 please visit www.difc.ae/newsroom/news/mohammed-bin-rashid-enacts-new-difc-data-protection-law/ 

Key contacts

A Guide to Doing Business in China

We explore the key issues being considered by clients looking to unlock investment opportunities in the People’s Republic of China.

Doing Business in China
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