Dubai free zones review initiatives to boost foreign investment

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) also said they are mulling over streamlining loans to SMEs in a bid to boost invstment
Dubai free zones review initiatives to boost foreign investment
The initiatives were discussed by the DFZ Council in its 9th meeting, where it also reviewed updates on an initiative to create a centralised electronic system to streamline registration and licensing procedures that will link all the free zones in Dubai to a Council-controlled data centre.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 28 May 2018 09:46 AM

Dubai free zones will take of number of initiative to promote flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the emirate, including easing business set-up processes, reducing frees and implementing new e-commerce regulations, it was announced on Sunday.

The initiatives were discussed by the DFZ Council in its 9th meeting, where it also reviewed updates on an initiative to create a centralised electronic system to streamline registration and licensing procedures that will link all the free zones in Dubai to a Council-controlled data centre.

“Over the past decades, free zones have been instrumental in increasing Dubai’s GDP and FDI inflows that are experiencing Dubai’s GDP and FDI inflows that are experiencing high annual growth despite the prevailing economic climate,” said Sheikh Ahmed, chairman of the DFZC.

“Today, we see the emirate’s free zones as more than just economic facilitators.”

Sheikh Ahmed added that “due to their legislative and investment incentives and through adopting strategic initiatives that shape the future of trade and economy to consolidate Dubai’s status as an ideal business destination, they (free zones) have evolved into globally competitive models.”

During the meeting, the DFZ Council also established a permanent administrative and technical committee to oversee the project and set a timetable for its implementation.

Additionally, the attendees also reviewed the latest developments in the e-commerce initiative which was announced in April, which seeks to stimulate the local economy by developing a high-quality e-commerce services sector.

At the meeting, the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority and the Dubai Future Foundation presented the “Dubai Blink” initiative, which is aimed at establishing the first digital platform for free zones that leverages AI and blockchain technologies to streamline trade among entities, leading to new areas of investment.

The meeting comes a week after the UAE announced new rules that will allow 100 percent foreign ownership of companies outside of free zones, prompting some, such as Dr. Habib Al Mulla, the chairman of Dubai law firm Baker & McKenzie, to speculate the free zones will be significantly impacted.

In a separate meeting on Sunday, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) held a seminar to review initiatives launched over the last year to stimulate investment.

According to Dr Obaid Al Zaabi, SCA CEO, the authority is “mulling over” the possibility of streamlining loads to SMEs in collaboration with major funds in the UAE, including the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

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