Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), has said that the various operational benefits at Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), has been a major contributing factor in attracting a number of Japanese companies to the free zone. More than 100 Japanese companies are operating out of Jafza.
Yoshio Minagi, Managing Director, JETRO Dubai said, “JETRO’s relation with Jafza dates back to 1985, when the free zone was first established. Jafza is an important profit center for Japanese companies, serving key markets in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, North and East Africa and surrounding areas. We share a mutually beneficial relationship, supporting each other’s business interests. Jafza is one of the most well equipped free zones in the world, with unmatched facilities and support services coupled with its simple operating procedures.”
“The Middle East as a whole is very important to Japan, as a major portion of Japan’s oil imports come from the UAE, especially Abu Dhabi. The long-term bilateral relationship shared by the two countries has also facilitated a healthy presence of Japanese companies in the free zone. Japan’s imports from the UAE amounted to US $18.2 billion last year. Further, many Japanese auto giants have been dominating the UAE’s automobile market for the last few decades,” added Minagi.
More than 90 per cent of Japanese companies at Jafza are manufacturing units in automobiles, spare parts and electronics. Heavy engineering and construction companies like Hitachi and Komatsu already have a well established presence at Jafza. Moreover, several companies with an annual turnover of over US $1 billion are also based at Jafza.
“The robust growth being witnessed in the Middle East region and increased liquidity is opening up unprecedented business opportunities,” said Mohammad Al Banna, Regional Director, Asia Pacific Region, Jafza. “Taking the traditional trade relationship that the region enjoys with Far Eastern countries further, Jafza is paving the way to attract more business entities from the Far East and the Asia Pacific rim to the free zone, for them to take advantage of the outstanding services in offer and the strategic position in the region that we enjoy.”
“Jafza offers a range of benefits for companies, which very few free zones offer, like 100 per cent ownership, simple administrative procedures, 50-year tax break, world-class infrastructure and no restrictions employment, which are attractive proposition for global businesses,” added Al Banna.
Japan’s exports to the UAE in the first nine months of 2004 stood at US $ 3.4 billion and imports from UAE touched US $ 13.2 billion. Manufactured products constituted more than 95 per cent of the total exports to the UAE, of which 75 per cent included machinery and electronic equipment.
JETRO is a government-related organisation that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world and attracting investments from the Middle East forms a key objective for the organisation.