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Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, director general, Dubai Airport Freezone.

Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, director general, Dubai Airport Freezone.

CEO Middle East meets Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, director general of Dubai Airport Freezone who tells why the freezone is the hub of choice of the region's biggest conglomerates.

Dubai Airport Freezone was established in 1996 as a part of the Dubai government's strategic plan to be an investment driven economy. Dubai Airport Freezone is one of the fastest growing freezones in the region and is currently home to over 1,400 companies from various industry sectors, including aviation, freight and logistics, IT and telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, engineering, food and beverage, jewellery and cosmetics.

International investors can enjoy dynamic growth through Dubai Airport Freezone's excellent incentive packages including 100 percent tax exemption, 100 percent foreign ownership and no currency restrictions. Located strategically within the boundaries of Dubai International Airport, Dubai Airport Freezone offers a range of modern facilities with a state-of-the art infrastructure.

Can you give us a background of Dubai Airport Freezone and why was it set up, the purpose and when?

Dubai Airport Freezone was established in 1996 as part of Dubai government's strategic plan to host branch and regional offices of local and international companies and facilitate the flow of  both local and foreign investments into Dubai and the UAE economy in general and create opportunities in the local market.

Who are the key people running the Dubai Airport Freezone?

The Dubai Airport Freezone is run by a board of directors chaired by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and managed by the director general, assistant director general and four  executive directors  for Human Capital and Strategy, Engineering, Finance and Corporate Service departments. The board of directors is assisted by  a number of senior directors, managers and a large staff of more than 170  employees. What are the main facilities available for operating in the freezone?

As part of its superb infrastructure, Dubai Airport Freezone offers a state-of-the-art offices, light industry units, warehouses and lands where tenants could build their own tailored-facilities that cater to the companies' requirements. Other facilities and services to be offered by the freezone to the investors ranges from 100 percent foreign ownership and 100 percent tax exemption. The freezone facilitates business opportunities for its tenants into other neighbouring markets.

What are the main advantages Dubai Airport Freezone provides in comparison with other freezones?

Looking at the freezone location at the heart of Dubai and within the boundaries of the busiest airport in the region, the freezone offers the best accommodation for multinational firms in several sectors including aviation, pharmaceutical products, jewellery, cargo and freight and computer accessories. This unique location places the freezone within easy access to the cargo facility and warehouses around the airport.

The Dubai Airport where all the international flights land offers unparalleled convenience to marketers, logistics operation managers and businessmen.

Easy access to the airport reduces the cost of the cargo and hence increase the profitability of the products. The close cooperation and coordination between Dubai Airport Freezone and the Civil Aviation Management has smoothened out the red line procedures to the advantage of the clients.

What are the goals and long-term plans of the freezone?

The freezone's key objective is to render its clients the best hassle-free services to operate in a smoothly suitable business environment that enable them to achieve their business goals.

To that objective, we wanted to be the investors' top choice. Our long term plan is to complete the East-Land project which consists of a hotel to accommodate our clients and their guests, to set up the business centre as planned and also to complete the large office space in preparation for the year 2012 and business growth ahead.

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