That was the key message to emerge from a recent meeting between French investors and representatives of the AFZ. The meeting, in Lyon, discussed the opportunities available in one of the emerging free trade zones in the world. Ajman already serves over 10,000 companies and about 100 new companies operate each week in its free zone.
The meeting was told that the UAE has more than 36 free trade zones and AFZ is one of the three most popular. Ajman is strategically located in the centre of the UAE facilitating access to all Emirates. The AFZ offers tax incentives for individuals and legal entities with tax relief on all foreign imports and exports.
Mahmood Al Hashemi, Director General of the AFZ, said,”France, and the rest of Europe of course, is a very attractive market for us and that is why we organised our first such event in Lyon to boost business opportunities between France and the Ajman Free Zone in the UAE.”
Bilateral trade relations between the entire European Union and the UAE have increased in recent years and Al Hashemi said he hopes to have a “mutually rewarding long-term relationship” with the French and European business community and its trade associations “on a regular basis.”
More than 50 potential investors, entrepreneurs and consultants attended the “summit” in France where representatives from the AFZ explained the competitive advantages and benefits offered. The gathering was told that the UAE is the EU’s 11th biggest global trading partner and its key trade associates in the Arabian Gulf.
The AFZ is one of the leading free zones in UAE, and has already organised successful investment summits in Russia, the CIS and Cyprus over the past 18 months.
According to industry experts and trade analysts, the AFZ is known as one of the most business-friendly, easy-to-work-in and cost-effective free zones in the region, the meeting was told. This, believes Al Hashemi, is something that should appeal to businesses in Europe, particularly at a time of continuing economic decline in eurozone economies. He said, “There are more than 30 free zones in UAE, so we need to be different and our goal is to attract SMEs and entrepreneurs. Ajman Free Zone proposes a lot of possibilities for the people who want to start their business.”
He added, “For example, the cheapest product we have is called Smart Office – it’s like virtual office where you have your desk, internet and everything you need to start with. The cost of starting the business with us will be cheaper than in the other free zones.” He went on, “We propose our service all over the world, including the UK, Germany, Ukraine and Cyprus and we will continue to open our representative offices in different countries.”
“We are always trying to attract investors from whole world and currently we have more than 10,000 companies registered in Ajman Free Zone and approximately 5% of them are from France, so we want to maximize this.”
By Martin Banks