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Last Updated:[24-08-2010 07:43:37 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Dubai Free Zone Firms Pick up Pace on Global Recovery Cues

tradenews The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its latest release said that the firms within Dubai's free zones had traded $30.5bn worth of exports and re-exports last year to register a whopping 40.7 percent growth in 2009. Thus proving the world that Dubai is one of the business centers which has woken up from the global economic slumber sparked off by financial crisis in the US three years ago.

The Gulf News reported about $41.5bn worth of imports or 32.6 percent of Dubai's total imports — valued at $85.5bn — were carried out by companies in the free zones in 2009. Dubai houses around 20 free zones with more than 20,000 companies, and major imports, exports and re-exports happen via Jebel Ali Free Zone, Technopark and Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ).

Albeit Dubai does not produce oil as compared to other key trade centers in the Middle East to fuel the economy, it relies solely on various business processes of exim trade. Dubai free trade zones are understood to have grown largely owing to its transit point status between growing economies of Asia and Africa as well as plunging into free zone strategy much early on.

Dubai's first free zone was launched in the early 1980s when the government commissioned Jebel Ali port — now the main trading hub of the Middle East. The free zones across the globe have prospered mainly due to the possibilities of having controlling stake in investments and repatriable revenue generation opportunities.

And Dubai is case in point to it as foreigners can own 100 percent stake in companies within the free zones. It should be noted the UAE's Commercial Companies Law restricts foreign investment in private companies to 49 percent and foreigners cannot do business without a local partner except at free zones.

Last week, DAFZ said it had recorded a 63 percent jump in sale during the first half of this year while Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone reported that 785 companies have already registered for businesses during the first half of the year. Hamad Bu Amim, Director General of Dubai Chamber, said, "Dubai's free zones are a major source of attraction for global companies and firms due to the many advantages they offer to investors looking for all the benefits of operating in the designated free zone areas."

By Jose Roy

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