Dafza, Chinese team discuss One Belt, One Road initiative - GulfToday

Dafza, Chinese team discuss One Belt, One Road initiative

DAFZA

Officials during the event.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza), one of the UAE’s leading free zones, has stepped up efforts to attract new business and foreign direct investment (FDI) from China following official Chinese delegation visits this week.

Jamal Bin Marghoob, Senior Director of Sales at Dafza along with senior officials welcomed the delegation from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Sichuan Council (CCPIT) was represented by Yang Shibo, Minister of the Association and another delegation from the Sichuan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which was led by Zhang Lyu Ping, Deputy Director General.

The delegations were joined by a number of Chinese companies which aim to better understand investment policies, economic and trade regulations and to explore opportunities for cooperation. The delegations were given a tour of Dafza’s facilities and were also introduced to the free zone’s services and project updates, including presentations on Dubai CommerCity, the region’s first e-commerce dedicated free zone and Dafza’s Halal trade initiatives.

A key point of discussion during the visit was the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative and how it will benefit both UAE and Chinese businesses. The OBOR Initiative is a $900 billion policy initiated by the Chinese government to build on ancient trade routes from China through central Asia by rail (Belt) and to Africa and beyond by sea. The initiative covers 69 countries which make up 60 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP). Trade activity between the UAE and China, both part of the OBOR initiative, amounted to $33 billion (Dhs121 billion).

Jamal Bin Marghoob commented: “The UAE and the Republic of China have held strong strategic relations politically, economically and socially for many decades. The UAE recognizes China as one of the most prominent economic forces in the world. With the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative between China and UAE, Sichuan is at the frontier of China’s future economic plan.

 “We see big opportunities for cooperation between China and the UAE across a range of strategic sectors including trade, logistics, science, technology, tourism and aviation. Dubai is a transportation hub connecting Asia and the rest of the world and we believe that greater collaboration between Sichuan and Dafza will bring significant benefits to businesses on both sides,” added Marghoob.

Dafza has invested in a number of strategic initiatives to help support Chinese businesses set up in the free zone. These include Dafza signing a new partnership with Liaoning Chamber of Commerce UAE. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will increase the collaboration between the two organizations and will help create new business and investment opportunities with Liaoning province. Dafza also previously signed an MoU with China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone (GDFTZ) - Nansha Area of Guangzhou (Nansha FTZ) and hosted roadshows in the Shenzhen province and Guangzhou in China during April 2018. The roadshows led to a significant amount of new company appointments with several high potential leads for new companies looking to invest in Dafza.

DAFZA is home to several prominent Chinese companies including Huiteng (Middle East) FZE, Hytera Communications FZE, Junhou International FZCO, Northwell, China Southern Airlines Branch and Oriental Sky Aviation FZE among others.

The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority has announced recently that its 2019 budget has increased significantly to Dhs1 billion. This increase is a reflection of Dafza unwavering commitment to continuously increase its contribution to Dubai non-oil trade.

DAFZA’s investment in new expansion projects is estimated to be around Dhs780 million representing 78% which comes in support to its commitment to increasing its contribution to Dubai non-oil trade.

Dafza’s non-oil foreign trade in 2018 grew Dhs55.8 billion to reach Dhs146 billion representing an increase of 62% versus 2017, while its contribution to Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade in 2018 reached 11% versus 7% in 2017.

Dafza has shown resilience and steady growth with 2018 results reaching unprecedented performance with 5% growth in net profit, a 4% increase in EBID, an 8% increase in total revenue, as well as an increase of 3% in total assets versus 2017. Following the free zone’s decision in mid-2018 to reduce its set up costs by 65%, the zone witnessed a clear 22% increase in registered companies versus last year.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, said that trade is one of the key sectors driving Dubai’s growth, supported by the Emirate’s long standing of being a gateway for global trade. DAFZA’s results achieved in 2018 are a direct reflection of Dubai’s strong economic growth and in line with the path taken by Dubai’s leadership for revenue diversification.