Free zones are now present in more than 80 percent of countries in the world, including emerging countries, and comprise nearly 30 percent of global trade. Asia region consists of the largest number of free zones in the world, followed by North America, South America, and the Middle East.
With 160 free zones (7.3 percent), the Middle East is the fourth largest host region in the world with Dubai comprising 30 percent.
These figures testify to the important role free zones play in creating a robust economy, according to organizers of Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), which is set to take place in Dubai from 8th to 10th April, 2019.
“In today’s fast-paced world, free zones are more than facilitators of seamless operations. Offering legislative and investment benefits, free zones around the world have evolved as competitive business models, that accelerate the growth of the economy by creating job opportunities and facilitating easy and smooth trade,” said Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO of Annual Investment Organising Committee.
The AIM is the world’s leading platform for foreign direct investment (FDI), aimed at facilitating strategic networking and promoting investments. Packed with members of the international investment community, this gathering witnesses high-ranking policy-makers, business leaders, regional and international investors, successful entrepreneurs, leading academics and celebrated financial experts showcasing up-to-date information and strategies on attracting FDI.
Offering companies benefits such as low tax rates, faster procedures, ease of business, quick access to international markets, robust physical and digital infrastructure, vigilant security and seamless regulations, free zones around the world have been the key source of economic growth.
With free zones driving the growth of the economy, industry experts suggest that markets such as the United States, European Union, Middle East and North Africa, Asia, and Latin America will witness robust growth in years to come.
In the UAE, in addition to the free zones, the government has introduced several measures to increase FDI. Some of the strategic initiatives introduced by the UAE include the introduction of a 10-year visa rule for specialists, 100 percent ownership law and the creation of a government body in Abu Dhabi to drive foreign direct investment.
At the upcoming AIM, experts will focus on diversification and highlight the significant role of free zones in driving foreign direct investments.
In addition, the exhibition will offer opportunities for governments and private organisations to launch and promote their projects to a vastly diverse audience.
Credit: Emirates News Agency WAM