During its participation in the World CEO Forum, the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) Authority stated that the achievements of SAIF Zone help to demonstrate and reflect Sharjah Government’s commitment to free trade.
The SAIF Zone Authority also stated that the various unique services that it offers have enabled it to develop into a leading platform for conducting business both nationally and globally, and helped it to transform into a business centre that houses more than 8000 companies from 160 countries.
This occurred during the authority’s participation as a platinum sponsor in the World CEO Forum, which recently concluded its activities in Dubai. The mega-event was held aboard the world-famous Queen Elizabeth II cruise liner and lasted for 4 days. The forum, which was attended by some of the most Influential global figures and business leaders from all over the world, aimed to highlight promising business opportunities leading up to Expo 2020.
Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Sharjah Airport International Free Zone Authority and Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, participated in the mega-event as one of the UAE’s most prominent business and industry leaders, as well as one of the most notable speakers at the forum. He highlighted the benefits and advantages offered by SAIF Zone, which include 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, 100% free transfer of funds, along with exemptions from personal and corporate income tax. He said that the free zone is strategically located next to Sharjah International airport, giving access to a market of 2 billion people less than a four-hour flight away. He added that it is also located close to major seaports on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, making it a gateway to global business for more than 6,500 companies.
During the business meetings that were held at the forum, Al Mazrouei called on business entities and investors to take advantage of the benefits and incentives provided by SAIF Zone, which offers different types of licenses to match all needs, in addition to offering a desk for small set ups, an office for medium sized setups and a suite for larger businesses. He pointed out that the free zone also offers warehousing facilities, labour accommodation and supply, and several other facilities that help simplify business setup.
Al Mazrouei said, “In less than 50 years, the UAE has grown to become a modern, prosperous economy and a true melting pot of cultures. We have been blessed by our oil wealth, but equally by our strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, which has allowed our logistics and manufacturing industries to flourish. The UAE is a gateway to emerging and developed markets globally. The UAE today has 45 free zones, among the highest of any country in the world. The value of exports from these free zones amounted to $62 billion last year, which was nearly 20% of the UAE’s total exports. There are about 350,000 SMEs registered in the UAE at present, contributing 60% of the GDP and employing 86% of the workforce.”
Al Mazrouei stated that due to the integrated economic system of the UAE, and under the dynamic leadership of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the emirate of Sharjah has grown into an economic powerhouse, with one of the highest levels of diversification in the region. He remarked that oil and gas makes up only 6% of Sharjah’s GDP, while manufacturing has become the biggest sector. He added that Sharjah also holds a 10% share of the UAE tourism economy and the city is renowned for its success in developing culture related ecotourism.
Al Mazrouei asserted that the SAIF Zone has kept pace with the growth and diversification of Sharjah’s economy by adapting, creating and developing more sophisticated services to cater to the on-going surge of advancement. He proclaimed that SAIF Zone, which has existed for more than 20 years, offers one of the most complete and competitive free zone services in the Middle East and Africa.
In a discussion seminar entitled “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally” that took place during the forum, Al Mazrouei stated that the SAIF Zone Authority is keen to understand the needs and requirements of investors, and to offer them services that help to satisfy their business needs in order to enhance their competitiveness.
Al Mazrouei stated that over the past two decades, the authority has targeted more than 40 countries globally, while also owning current investments in more than 60 countries. He added that SAIF Zone currently houses more than 8000 companies, clarifying that the authority does not concentrate on the quantity of companies, but instead looks to service economic sectors that contribute significantly to the development of the UAE’s economy.
According to the latest OECD reports, the 3,500 free trade zones around the world provide about 66 million jobs, with the value of their exports amounting to $3.5 trillion, which represents 22% of the total value of global exports at $15.5 trillion.
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