Summit urges more synergy between free zones
Ras Al Khaimah, November 3, 2010
Experts called for increased co-operation between the world’s free zones to ultimately benefit their clients and remain profitable at a key free zone summit being hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone.
The 'World Free Zone Convention 2010' opened on Tuesday at Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Hamra Convention Centre.
It is the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East and hosts over 200 international and regional delegates reviewing the opportunities ahead for free zones worldwide in the current economic climate.
The event was inaugurated by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. This was his first-ever official event since becoming the emirate’s ruler following the death last week of his father, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.
In his opening message, Sheikh Saud said: “We welcome initiatives such as the World Free Zone Convention that further underline Ras Al Khaimah’s profile as an important free zone innovator on a global level. It comes at an important time when our economic policies are beginning to deliver success and leading to strategic partnerships with key players across the world.”
The two-day conference and exhibition featured a keynote address by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade.
Sheikha Lubna stressed the significant contribution made to the economy by the 36 free zones operating in the UAE.
“The UAE’s Free Zone model has proved to be an excellent catalyst for development in line with our vision for diversified economic growth. Our free zones are very unique in that they were developed in accordance with an economic development strategy that puts economic diversification and creating a suitable economic and business climate as a top priority,” she stated.
RAK FTZ chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi paid tribute to the leadership of Ras Al Khaimah, acknowledging the emirate’s economic and social success spearheaded by the ambitious policies.
Oussama El Omari, chief executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone, touched upon success factors for free zones urging his peers to explore building relationships with their counterparts in other countries in order to ensure expansion and increased market share.
“Many decision-makers in supra-national organisations such as the World Trade Organisation, Unido, Unictad, OECD and the European Commission make superficial argument that when tariffs disappear economic incentives for free zones will die and zones will dissolve,” El Omari said.
“They simply do not understand yet that zones have transformed themselves into leading service centres for attracting foreign investment in the world and are greatly needed.”
Graham Mather, World Free Zone Convention chairman and president of European Policy Forum, London & Brussels, along with a host of international dignitaries and key speakers from various organisations around the world took part.-TradeArabia News Service