Free zones and trade agreements are becoming a much more common sight in the UAE as a way to promote trade, production, and the economy.

Abdullah Bel Houl
Managing Director
Dubai Industrial City (DI)
Omar Al Mesmar
General Manager
Dubai Investments Park (DIP)

How will the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) you signed with the Ministry of Economy enhance your operations here?

ABDULLAH BEL HOUL Supporting the industrial sector lies at the heart of the UAE's Vision 2021—a more diversified economy that is less dependent on oil and gas. The ambition is for the non-oil and gas sectors to grow from 17% to 25% of the overall UAE economy over the next five years. In order to achieve this, there needs to be a solid and very clear collaboration between the private sector and public sector. The signing of the MoU helps to demonstrate this partnership and we were pleased to act as the bridge between the governments, its ambitions for the economy, and the private sector, working to create growth and jobs. More specifically, the MoU will facilitate issuing a national industrial license to investors who are keen to do business at Dubai Industrial City (DI). With that national industrial license, the investor will benefit from free trade agreements (FTAs) and duty exemptions that are being extended by the government. The MoU also supports the UAE manufacturing industry by standing behind the “Made in the UAE" brand. The support of the government and the Ministry of Economy is highly appreciated by the industrial sector overall, as well as DI. Thanks to this initiative, I believe we will witness a significant boost at DI over the coming years.

How does the growth strategy of Dubai Investments Park (DIP) fit in with HH Sheikh Mohammed's Vision 2020?

OMAR AL MESMAR DIP has integrated seamlessly with the Vision 2020 of Dubai under the able leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai. This Vision aims to act as a catalyst for sustained development and raise excellence in all sectors. Within DIP, we have implemented international best practices to create a plan that yields continuous growth across sectors in line with the growth envisaged by Dubai. We are confident of becoming an international role model for development under the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed.

What new initiatives are being taken in 2013?

ABH We are expecting good growth in land lease, and in the number of new factories under construction. We are also witnessing an expansion trend, with most factories increasing their existing facilities within DI. That is a very positive indicator of the significant opportunities for the whole manufacturing ecosystem.

How does your proximity to Al Maktoum Airport and Jebel Ali benefit Dubai Investment Park?

OM Location is absolutely paramount for the success of a project like ours, and one of our biggest selling propositions is that we are strategically situated around three major arterial highways: Sheikh Zayed Road, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, and the Outer Bypass [Emirates Road], which are connected to key ports and vantage points in the city. Our proximity to Jebel Ali port, and also the Al Maktoum International Airport, makes it very convenient for cargo movement to and from the industrial units. Moreover, we are also seeing an upswing in our residential occupancy due to our strategic proximity to the airport and the port.