Free zones contribute 38% to Dubai’s Q1 total foreign trade
United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZ Council) held its 18th meeting, headed by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Free Zones Council, to discuss strategic initiatives that support Dubai-based startups and SMEs, in coordination with business accelerators, to boost Dubai’s status as a preferred destination for foreign direct investment and innovation. Referencing their registered Dhs135 billion in foreign trade in Q1 of 2021, approximately 38 per cent of Dubai’s total foreign trade, Sheikh Ahmed lauded the role of Dubai’s free zones in creating a refreshing trade corridor with global markets and attracting foreign direct investments to Dubai in battling with the COVID-19 implications. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum emphasised that the highly flexible environment that Dubai’s free zones created through its value-added and incentivized initiatives has proven its exceptional economic model. He noted that Dubai’s free zones’ competitiveness had gained the confidence of the global business community.
DFZ Council members highlighted that the recent decisions are taken by the UAE Cabinet, namely resolution no. 16 of 2020 concerning the determination of the positive list of economic sectors and activities eligible for foreign direct investment and percentage of their ownership, boost the ease of setting up and doing business in the UAE and the national economy’s competitiveness. The decisions also create a surge of attractive opportunities for talent, expertise, and innovative ideas from around the globe. Sheikh Ahmed said: “The decision coincides with Dubai’s preparations to host Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest global event of its kind, as it will have a strong positive impact on attracting foreign direct investment. Our economy presents a real example in boosting the global business community’s confidence to invest due to its flexible and secure business environment, the advanced and world-class infrastructure, and high quality of life that allows global talents and investors to consider it home.”
He added: “Our unique initiatives are the result of the future-proof vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to build a stable economy that adds value to investors. The wise leadership’s goal to enhance the economic, political, and social security in the UAE as well as the nation’s swift response to crises is expected to yield a significant return on investment.” DFZ Council members also reviewed the Business Accelerator Unit initiative, which coordinates meetings with relevant entities, companies, and investors, to evaluate challenges and propose innovative solutions that support a diversified, sustainable economy. In contribution to achieving the fastest economic recovery globally, they refer to local and international success stories across business sectors and innovate action plans to accelerate business establishment and development across different stages of the value chain, positioning Dubai as a preferred destination for business and innovation.
Dubai SME representatives also presented the Promising Startups Platform initiative in detail, aiming to attract startups to Dubai, especially those developing unique, sustainable economy concepts, in collaboration with an integrated network from 15 countries. During the meeting, DFZ Council members also reviewed the developments of the unified record that aims to integrate open data using the latest artificial intelligence systems in offering government services, in line with Dubai’s status as the smartest city in the world. They also reviewed the list of participating government entities. DFZ Council members also reviewed an initiative to link free zone employees with the Unified Registry of Dubai Government Employees, which was recently created to be the sole official source of information on Dubai Government employee data and a classification system to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data. The unified database will be a certified source detailing the unique capabilities and skillset available in different specialties across participating entities.
Region’s largest carpet factory: Standard Carpets, the region’s largest producer and exporter of broadloom carpets, carpet tiles and artificial grass, has broken ground on a new manufacturing plant in Dubai Industrial City that will become one of the world’s largest carpet factories and the region’s biggest upon completion in 2023. Covering a total land area of more than 3 million sq. ft, the state-of-the-art facility will allow Standard Carpets to increase production capacity by 40 per cent and produce an additional 400 tonnes of yarn per month in first phase of the development. Expansion is an important milestone for both parties. It will boost Operation 300bn, promote high-quality Made in UAE products, enhance Dubai’s position as a global manufacturing hub and contribute to GDP growth. Upon completion, Standard Carpets will operate one of the world’s largest single-site flooring plants covering a total built-up area of 1.6 million sq. ft. Abdulla Belhoul, Chief Commercial Officer of Dubai Holding Asset Management, said: “Increasing the contribution manufacturing makes to the UAE’s GDP is a national priority set by the vision of our leaders for economic growth and diversification.”