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The value of trade at Dubai’s free zones is expected to grow by five per cent this year to reach US$140.2bn
According to a report in Arabic daily Al Bayan, the value of foreign trade in Dubai’s free zones hit a record high of about US$35bn in Q1 2015, up by 6.5 per cent compared with the same period last year. Officials in the Dubai Customs and the Chamber of Commerce have said that the value of trade at the emirate’s free zones could increase by as much as seven per cent from more than US$133bn reported last year.
Free zones trade currently makes up 37 per cent of the total value of the emirate’s overall trade. There are 20,000 companies in Dubai’s free zones from all over the world and their investments add up to almost 50 per cent of the total foreign direct investments in the emirate, the paper added. Those companies provide about 200,000 jobs and contribute 25 per cent to Dubai’s gross domestic product.
In its Occupier Sentiment Survey released in June 2015, Jones Lang LaSalle said that Dubai is expected to consolidate its position as the top city for corporate occupiers in the Middle East and North Africa region over the next three years. The report said that while there is continuing growth in demand in Saudi Arabia and Egypt from companies servicing those local markets, Dubai remains the preferred location for regional operations.
Dubai has 23 free trade zones, with Jebel Ali Free Zone accounting for 80 per cent of total trade of the emirate’s free zones.