By Talal Malik
Free zone is expected to significantly boost investment flow as similar projects have done in the UAE.
Bahrain’s free zone, expected to boost investment flow as similar projects have done in the UAE, is likely to begin operating in the third quarter of 2008, said a senior Bahraini member of the consultative committee overseeing the project.
Abdul Hakeem Al Shemmari, the head of Bahrain’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry's committee for the project, said talks to finalise the nature of operations in the free zone near the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman port could be completed in six weeks.
"At present discussions are about the kind of industries the proposed free zone should house," Al Shemmari was quoted by the Bahrain News Agency as saying.
The Bahraini official also the free zone, spread over a square kilometre, was expected to create hundreds of jobs for Bahrainis besides boosting the Kingdom's exports and its commercial and industrial capacities.
"As it will be a new window for economic and technical cooperation with other countries and will boost commercial exchange and the transit business, it will also help make the new port one of the main ones in the region by attracting allied industries and services," he added.
It would also attract key regional and international providers to set up facilities and generate better transit times for movement of goods. Al Shemmari also said the free zone would play a vital role in the growth of the national economy conforming to the strategic requirements for expanding exports and attracting foreign investments.
"It will also expand the investment options available to the private sector and offer better opportunities to forge ties with foreign companies," he added.