Al Zarooni Highlights Success of Dubai's Free Zones at Latin American Conference of Free Zones in Puerto Rico
WAM DUBAI, 27th October, 2013 (WAM) -- Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) and Director- General of Dubai Airport Free Zone, provided insights on the fundamental concept and future development of Dubai's free zones to participating delegates at the 15th Latin American Conference in Ponce, Puerto Rico, that ran from October 23-25.
Addressing an elite audience including members of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones and the Association of Free Zones of the Americas from the global freight and cargo industry, Dr Al Zarooni highlighted the success of the free zone concept in Dubai and its contribution to Dubai's GDP.
Dr. Al Zarooni said: "Dubai's 22 free zones have played a significant role over the past three decades in boosting Dubai's port traffic. Free zones contribute to 75 per cent of the total exports of the emirate of Dubai. These free zones have also succeeded in attracting more than 19,000 companies that offer jobs to more than 226,000 employees. Dubai's free zones contribute to more than 25 per cent of the emirate's GDP." He pointed out that globally free zones play a great role in world economic growth in supporting and facilitating foreign direct investment, promoting international trade and exports, creating jobs and work force for domestic markets and importantly, boosting the domestic economy.
"There are some statistics showing that in 1975, 665 free zones existed worldwide. Today, the world boasts more than 3,500 free zones that offer close to 60 million jobs. The growing numbers reflect the success world free zones have achieved in the overall world economy growth," Dr. Al Zarooni concluded.
In addition to outlining the significant achievements registered by Dubai's free zones in less than three decades following their inception, Dr. Zarooni additionally charted the emirate's meteoric rise as a 21st century economic powerhouse and a leading trading hub in the Middle East.
Dr. Al Zarooni said: "Dubai has a lot to offer to the global economy with our state-of-the-art infrastructure and strategic entry points through its ports and airports that cater to marine and air cargo in this region and across the world. This is in addition to the high-quality service offerings that are extended to investors through the adoption of high speed technology and business-enabling procedures." He added: "In 2013, Dubai International Airport ranked as the second busiest airport in the world with 75 million international passengers transiting through it. This number is poised to rise to 98 million by 2020.
"Dubai's air cargo sector handles a capacity of 2.27 million tonnes per year and is the 6th busiest air cargo operation in the world. Dubai's aviation industry, including its international airports, employs 58,000 people and indirectly supports 250,000 jobs, representing 19 per cent of total employment in Dubai. The aviation industry in Dubai contributes as much as 28 per cent of Dubai's GDP, which is expected to rise to 32 per cent by 2020." Likewise, for the past 19 consecutive years, the Jebel Ali Port has been voted the �Best Sea Port' in the Middle East and is considered the world's ninth largest container port according to �Containerization International 2010'. The port is equipped with 23 berths and 78 cranes, and boasts world-class infrastructure. In January this year, the port received the world's largest container ship, CGM Marco Polo, with a capacity of 16,000 ton units (TEU). From handling 13 million TEU of container cargo in 2012, the port is set to record a 19 million TEU capacity in 2014.
The Latin American Conference examined market trends and international trade practices that impact free zones. The two-day event reiterated the importance of developing tangible tools to factor growth and the need to build sustainable business relationships for promoting the economic growth of countries that are looking to set up free zones.
The Conference of Free Zones provides an opportunity for cities and countries from around the globe to network and share best practices in the operation of free zones. The event serves as a platform to promote new trends and growth strategies applicable to free zones, and outline the industrial benefits of promoting trade and business opportunities.