Free Trade Zones Help Develop GCC Economic Systems
Saud Al Mazrouei, Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone), confirmed that free trade zones have become integral to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s economic system, pointing out that they provide an innovative solution to invest in the future.
Together, SAIF Zone and HFZA are home to at least 13,000 companies from 165 different countries, and Gulf entities make up to 12.8 percent of them.
Free trade zones, according to Mazrouei, play a major role in developing the global economy, attracting investments in various industrial, commercial and service fields, facilitating the flow of capital, stimulating the local economy, developing human capabilities, creating jobs, and keeping up with the latest economic trends.
“United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates show that there are more than 4,800 economic free zones worldwide. GCC free trade zones are an essential component of the overall economic system that contributes to the growth of GCC’s GDP,” Mazrouei elaborated in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Speaking more on the benefits of having free zones, Mazrouei said: “They represent one of the innovative solutions that Gulf countries have resorted to as a form of investing in the making of the future and achieving economic prosperity.”
“Today, we see that this wise vision imposed by the Gulf leadership bears fruit as GCC free zones have become globally influential in enhancing economic productivity, supporting employment and human resources, and growing expertise.”
On the possibility of attracting foreign investments to the free zones, Mazrouei stressed that there are a number of fundamental factors that play a major role in enhancing the status and competitiveness of free zones.
Among these factors are location, logistics, services and eased regulation.
HFZA, for example, is the second largest free trade zone in the UAE. It rests over 26.7 square meters of commercial and industrial land.
“Our free zones have become cities with integrated services and facilities that provide a welcoming environment for companies,” Mazrouei noted.