The Saudi Shura Council’s Economy and Energy Committee urged the Commerce and Investment Ministry to overcome obstacles inhibiting the launch and operation of free zones in the Kingdom.
The urgency for setting up Saudi free-trade zones (FTZs) is drawn from the timeline set by the Kingdom’s national transformation plan, Vision 2030, which was launched five years ago with an array of programs aimed at boosting the economy.
Asharq Al-Awsat learned that on Monday the Committee submitted an official report recommending the speedy implementation of FTZ projects for discussion and voting in the Council.
It is predicted that the Council may take several days before reaching a final decision on the matter as the Kingdom aspires to benefit from global changes to lay the foundations for a pioneering and diverse economy.
To date, the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimates that there are more than 4,800 special economic zones in the world.
Moreover, the Committee’s report aligns with a framework of direct support to the Commerce and Investment Ministry in facing challenges that delayed the implementation of FTZ projects anticipated to unlock opportunities and attract investors.
The Committee looks to facilitate the ministry’s work through drafting legislation for needed procedures and regulations, particularly that the nature of the projects, like airports and seaports, require coordination with specialized agencies.
Specialists view the Committee’s initiative as a possible expeditor and facilitator of procedures within competent authorities, especially for determining and launching new FTZs soon.
According to the information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, some sites were identified earlier as potential FTZ hosts, but the implementation of projects was delayed.
High hopes are pinned on passing a set of measures that speed up the implementation of FTZ projects in vital locations and specific cities in Saudi Arabia.