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UAE 2018 | FUJAIRAH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Khalid Mohammed Al Jassim, Director General of Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on facilitation of domestic and foreign business relations, Fujairah's advantages as an emirate, and opportunities for diversification.

Khalid Mohammed Al Jassim
BIOGRAPHY
In addition to serving as Director General of the Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Khalid Mohammed Al Jassim also serves as the UAE Vice Chairman of the Board at the International Chamber of Commerce and is a board member for several other companies and corporations. He has participated in numerous international conferences and forums. He received his bachelor’s degree in social studies from the UAE University.

How are your priorities split between domestic development and international outreach?

Domestically, we are promoting Fujairah. In terms of the local economy, we are supporting businesses, most specifically SMEs. We have already opened our SME facilities within Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We are also trying to impart knowledge and encourage young people to engage with business at an early age, and often we take about 25-30 people to international exhibitions, such as the Canton Fair in China. This allows them to understand available opportunities, gain networking experience on the excursions, and generally feel inspired to establish their own business when they return home. We are always connecting our local investors with foreign investors through conferences and meetings to develop and improve their own businesses. With regards to international outreach, we are welcoming a lot of delegations from all around the world, and most recently, we have been active in the Latin American communities and have received many delegations. We hold meetings and discuss the opportunities between the UAE, Fujairah, and Latin America, as we believe there are many opportunities for all parties. Many countries are becoming more open to international trade and want to distribute their products beyond their local markets. These countries are therefore looking for local agencies here in the UAE, and we are providing that bridge. We invited ambassadors to these meetings and made it clear that Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry can act as an interlocutor, like we have done for parties from South Africa and the Netherlands. There are frequent meetings of this nature, and our door is always open to foreign investment. Fujairah offers a unique strategic location, and the facilities here in are convenient for the investor as we have an oil and petrochemical free zone; we have a seaport with excellent capabilities and location, an airport, and additional free zones, all of which provide competitive advantages for investors. We have also become heavily involved in the food security project, and it is one of the largest projects here.

How is Fujairah diversifying its base and strengthening the wider economy, and where do you see opportunity for growth?

In Fujairah, we have a burgeoning natural resource industry, which is very important as Fujairah is surrounded by mineral-rich mountains, and we have an establishment for mineral resources in Fujairah. In the oil industry, refining and oil storage facilities are important industries for the Emirate. This sector is inclusive of both the public and private sectors. Fujairah also has great promise for developing a tourism industry.

What are the key attractions for foreign investment in Fujairah?

Fujairah is home to different free zones that offer different advantages, and foreign investors are free to choose the offering that best suits their ambitions. This is an attractive prospect for investors, because it means that the infrastructure needed to establish a company or an operation already exists and the overhead cost is lower than other Emirates. These overheads also extend to the staff accommodation and equate to greater operational profits compared to other Emirates where the overheads are not as low. Fujairah offers the same strategic location and the full support of His Highness in the provision of international standard facilities and support. Investors are always welcome here in Fujairah, and we work hand in hand with the investor to make it easy for them. Investors sometimes need certain things, and we will do whatever is required to help them do business here.