The Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZC) has announced new e-commerce regulations for free zones. The initiative has been developed by an integrated organization that will enable greater foreign direct investment (FDI) in the e-commerce sector to flourish in Dubai. The initiative was first presented to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during his meeting with a number of Dubai Officials on stimulating the national economy and promoting investment through a range of legislative frameworks.
These are expected to increase Dubai’s competitiveness and enhance its global economic status as an ideal destination for investments and growth. Following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, the Executive Council will follow up on the implementation of economic growth-stimulating initiatives. DFZC set out details of its free zones e-commerce regulations that will increase the inflow of FDI and enhance the experience of free zone companies engaged in e-commerce activity, allowing them to realize the investment and trade opportunities generated by the sector globally and regionally from Dubai.
DFZC’s initiative will primarily focus on establishing e-commerce conditions and controls by cooperating with Dubai Government authorities. This will come in the form of joint teams and workshops that will support the adaptation to procedures and generate proposals that will make Dubai one of the most attractive cities in the world for free zone companies related to e-commerce. The initiative will also examine mechanisms for adopting block chain technology in order to enhance transparency and speed up the completion and automation of procedures. It will also create a stimulating and attractive environment for major global e-commerce companies as well as work hand-in-hand with DFZC members.
The Council believes that the initiative will have significant economic implications, such as reviving and expanding air cargo traffic in Dubai and addressing the rise in demand and supply of logistics services. Major logistics companies will have to compete against time and speed of delivering to consumers, aside cost and efficiency challenges demonstrated in managing the warehouses and logistics operations of local and global e-commerce companies. The UAE’s national economy will also witness high competition in e-payments, the IT sector and the emergence of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to provide different services within the e-commerce ecosystem, which will enhance their regional presence in Dubai.
H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Secretary-General of DFZC, said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has placed great confidence in us to implement a quality initiative that will stimulate the national economy through e-commerce. This highlights the vital role played by free zones over the past decades in attracting and sustaining FDI. The latest concept of e-commerce has established itself as the future of trade. Our wise leadership has always seen Dubai as a city that foresees the future and has a clear goal of establishing itself as an ideal destination for investments. At DFZC, we are all confident of our ability to formulate a strong project for the growth of our national economy through e-commerce,”
Al Zarooni then added: “The Initiative will have a significant economic and social impact at the national level by increasing its competitiveness in operational efficiency. This, in turn, will lead to the design of intelligent and sophisticated solutions that will improve the overall experience of global supply chains in the e-commerce sector.
The initiative will also encourage local talent and human resources to enter the sector, which will certainly enhance local competitiveness and generate plenty of career opportunities in both the UAE and the region. The Initiative will also act as the foundation to establish local companies to compete with international firms in the future, which will drive better opportunities for SMEs both locally and regionally. It will also change the retail ecosystem in Dubai and its neighboring markets to adopting non-traditional approaches in line with e-commerce-led developments.”
The DFZC anticipates a promising future in e-commerce, which will transform Dubai to a regional hub across the Middle East, the growth of e-commerce investments is expected to reach USD 69 billion by 2020 in the Middle East, of which the GCC represents about 34% of it. These indicators make Dubai an intuitive destination due to its geographical location and its advanced infrastructure, as well as the exceptional experience it offers to foreign investors and companies to enter markets and manage their business and operations easily through the free zones.
Dr. Al Zarooni concluded: “Supported by our strategic partners, the initiative will contribute in accelerating the sector’s growth in Dubai and its neighboring markets. We will focus on offering a bundle of investment and legislative facilities that will increase regional investment opportunities through Dubai. The importance of designing this new system lies in creating a clear guide with specific controls and conditions to ensure the quality and security of products traded electronically in addition to the development of world-class standards that facilitate global e-commerce companies adopting Dubai as a central platform to manage its activities.”
In the next meeting, the Council will discuss the initiative’s implementation plan and develop a time frame to apply series of programs to further accelerate the implementation of e-commerce conditions and controls.