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Fiscal incentives, like tax breaks and financial credits, are now crucial for global firms seeking partners beyond mere economic benefits. Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) addresses business needs through factors beyond conventional financial incentives. Thus, it positions itself uniquely among global economic zones. This distinctiveness becomes particularly relevant in the context of contemporary challenges. It ranges from geopolitical tensions to the disruptive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global trade.

Furthermore, recent global events have necessitated innovative solutions for businesses to achieve sustainable growth and resilience. This transformation has significantly reshaped the landscape of international commerce. It prompts businesses to revamp operations, customer engagement, and supply chain strategies. The 2023 World Trade Report underscores the importance of increased multilateral cooperation and inclusiveness to address global economic problems.

In alignment with these shifts, DP World’s 2023 Trade in Transition report identifies key factors influencing critical business decisions worldwide. Companies are now seeking to lower supply chain costs and reduce the risk of disruptions. Simultaneously, many are opting for strategies like nearshoring or reshoring to bring business operations closer to end customers. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO director-general, advocates for a ‘re-globalization’ strategy, emphasizing deeper and more deconcentrated markets as a pivotal improvement.

This global move towards re-globalization highlights the significance of connectivity to emerging markets, diversified trade partnerships, and increased investments in technology and infrastructure. Jafza strategically aligns itself with these imperatives. It earned recognition in 2023 as the world’s best free zone for its non-fiscal incentives.

Jafza’s commitment extends beyond fiscal benefits to the provision of world-class infrastructure. With over 10,000 customers, it offers modern offices, warehouses, and logistics facilities, reducing inefficiencies and financial burdens for businesses. The recently inaugurated Yiwu Traders’ Market further enhances global access for buyers and sellers in a convenient location.

Operating at the center of global trade, Jafza distinguishes itself as a business-friendly and resilient destination. Its exceptional multimodal connectivity directly links the seaport (Jebel Ali Port) and airport (Maktoum International Airport) within a customs-bonded zone. This strategic position facilitates trade and expansion opportunities across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Jafza hosts more than 500 logistics companies, including industry leaders like Hima and Neweast Trading. The latter established operations in 2023 to tap into the 60-plus regional markets connected through Jebel Ali Port. The free zone’s strategic partnerships and incentives are particularly beneficial as the UAE’s manufacturing sector gains momentum. In 2022, industrial sector exports surged by 30%, contributing significantly to the national GDP.

The UAE government is committed to increasing the industrial sector’s contribution to GDP, with initiatives like ‘Operation 300bn’ and ‘Make it in the Emirates’. It positions the country as a global manufacturing and distribution hub. Jafza, through its National Industrial License, supports manufacturing companies in the Free Zone. This further solidifies its role in this economic landscape.

In 2023, Jafza entered into a strategic memorandum of understanding with the Emirates Development Bank to boost investments in the manufacturing sector within the free zone. Currently hosting over 790 companies in various sectors, including food and beverages, healthcare, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals, Jafza continues to evolve its offerings to enhance trading opportunities and deliver sustained business value.

The success of Jafza’s strategy is evident in the increasing number of companies flocking to its shores and the longevity of those that have been operating within the Free Zone for more than two decades. This dynamic adaptability and commitment to innovation position Jafza as a key player in the ever-evolving global economic landscape.

Related Article: FDI Intelligence

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