The Dubai Free Zones were set up to encourage foreign trade and investment. In 1985 the inauguration of Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) created the benchmark for regulations and incentives, proving so successful that the model has been copied multiple times in Dubai and also in the other Emirates. What the Dubai Free Zones offer are business districts well equipped with all the amenities, facilities and communication infrastructure necessary to set up a business and service the needs of investors.
Traditionally all companies had to be owned at least 51 percent by a UAE National, but any businesses registered in a Free Zone is allowed 100 per cent foreign ownership. It’s even offered exemption from taxes and customs duties, plus no levy on exports/imports. Other trading benefits include no restrictions on recruitment or sponsorship. To many companies, opening an office in one of the many Free Zones is an attractive prospect, especially as Dubai is such a key location, and offers a free market environment, cutting-edge infrastructure, political stability, a booming economy and tax free policies.
Where to find the Dubai Free Zones
There are currently twelve Dubai Free Zones, with more expected soon:
- Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority
- Dubai Gold & Diamond Park
- Dubai Internet City
- Dubai Knowledge Village
- Dubai Silicon Oasis
- Dubai Healthcare City
- Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
- Dubai Sports City
- Dubai Palm Island Development
- Customs and Free Zone Corp
- Dubai Automobile Zone
- Dubai Metal & Commodity Centre
- Dubai Textile City
- Dubai Flower Centre
- Dubai Logistics City
- Dubai Aid City.