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Dubai free zones represent over Dh500b trade

30/06/2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Free Zone News

DIFC official speaks of the Dubai experience of facilitating and attracting FDI.

Dubai: The free zones in Dubai hosts 20,000 companies with diverse interest across industries, and represents more than Dh500 billion trade, a senior official at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) told an industry conference.

Speaking of the Dubai experience to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) at the Annual Investment Conference, Arif Amiri, the chief executive of DIFC said the government “simplified doing business by adopting policies and encouraging free trade and FDI by establishing free zones,” like the Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai Airport Free zone and the DIFC.

The second step the government took was to develop the right platform in terms of framework, the legal structure, international best practice.

For example, he said the DIFC has over 90 bilateral and multi lateral agreements with its international partners and regulators across the globe. “We have a network across the globe that makes doing business much better,” Amiri said. Training and innovation was the third pillar for attracting Dubai as an investment hub. Global financial centre index ranked Dubai as the top financial centre in the Middle East, and Africa, and was ranked 13th globally,

Free zone like the DIFC has been on a record breaking spree. In 2015, the number of new company registrations at DIFC increased by more than a quarter compared with 2014, from 242 to 309, the highest number achieved in a single year to date. The size of the total workforce employed within DIFC also grew up to 19,808, an 11 per cent increase compared with last year and around 40 per cent of the overall target DIFC has set as part of its 2024 growth strategy.

And the free zones target is to triple its size in the next 10 years, and the DIFC expects 50 per cent of the future growth coming from China, and the Asia and Pacific region.

“Over the past decade we have seen the transformation and distribution of economic influence towards multi-polar world economy and this has been part in response to changing economic realities and political environment leading to new generation of foreign investment policies. Emerging economies especially in South East Asia are adopting new channels,” Arifi said.

In the 1980s, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) came from the US and Europe and then in 1990s and later the world witnessed a change in trend and the foreign flows mainly came out of emerging economies, contributing to 30 per cent of the total flows he said.

Dubai continues to play a leading role in facilitating trade and investments hub among neighbouring markets and among emerging economies in Asia and Africa. Dubai is in the centre of the region with $7.8 trillion of GDP.