Aden & Jabal Ali Free Zones: More Future Cooperation [Archives:1998/11/Business & Economy]
A UAE trade and industry delegation; headed by the President of the Jabal Ali Free Zone in Dubai and the Director-General of the Dubai Ports, Mr. Sultan Bin Saleem, is currently visiting Yemen to promote stronger ties with the Aden Free Zone.
Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf, Yemen Times Aden Bureau Chief, met two of the delegates and filed the following interviews.
Mr. Bin Saleem:
Q: How do you see the future cooperation between the Aden and Jabal Ali free zones?
A: Cooperation between the Aden and Jabal Ali free zones goes on unhindered. In fact, Jabal Ali trained a number of Aden Free Zone officials last year. There will be no competition between the two free zones, but an integration of services and activities such as workshops, labor and joint investments.
Q: What do you think is necessary for the progress of the Aden Free Zone?
A: Aden will acquire a lot of regional and international importance as a free zone due to its strategic location. Attracting big investment is the first step towards the successful establishment of a free-trade zone. Then follows the regulation of customs procedures. The most important thing, however, is to unify the authority responsible for running the free zone. This is important for the swift running of the project. Having two official bodies or more trying to run a single entity just hinders its progress. In the Jabal Ali Free Zone authority, for instance, it takes a maximum of one month to decide on a proposed investment project.
Q: Can there be more opportunity for Yemeni and UAE businessmen to work together?
A: There is plenty of scope for UAE businessmen to invest in the Aden Free Zone. Also, the Yemeni businessmen who will attend the Dubai Shopping Festival will have a lot of opportunities to meet with their UAE counterparts and arrange joint future investments. The Aden and Dubai chambers of commerce can also have joint activities.
I extend an open invitation to all Yemeni businessmen and ordinary people alike to attend the 1998 Dubai Shopping Festival, which is due to start on March 19th and go on for one whole month. There will also be the UAE Exhibition next October in Aden.
Also in the delegation is Mr. Hussein Ali Lotah, the Deputy Coordinator-General of the Dubai 1998 Shopping Festival who was interviewed:
Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Yemen?
A: The reason for our visit to Yemen is to promote the third Dubai Shopping Festival, which has the theme ‘Children of the World Meet.’ The emphasis in the festival will be on family themes. More than 250 different activities are planned for this year’s Festival.
Q: What can visitors from Yemen hope to find at the festival?
A: This is the first time we come to Yemen to promote the Dubai Festival, in a gesture of a renewed friendship and stronger brotherly ties. Instructions were given to UAE embassies and consulates abroad to facilitate the issuing of visas for people wishing to attend the festival. Up to 40% discounts will be offered in hotels to accommodate our guests.
Q: How do you evaluate Yemeni presence in the last festival?
A: In addition to the large Yemeni community in Dubai, many visitors came from Yemen to see the UAE, attend the festival, and ascertain the possibility of commercial exchange. I can say that the amount of money spent by Yemeni people is large, relative to that spent by other visitors. We hope that there will be more Yemeni visitors this year.
I also want to mention that there is a special wing at the festival ground for exhibiting Yemeni products.
Q: How many people visited the last two Dubai festivals?
A: Last year’s festival was attended by about 1,600,00 visitors.
Mr. Ibraheem Al-Hajj, the Regional Manager of Emirates Airlines.
Q: What preparations have you made to facilitate visits to the Dubai festival?
A: The Emirates office grants 60-day visitor visas to Dubai. Yemeni people wishing to shop at the festival can get a visa on the same day at a cost of $35. I invite our brothers in Yemen to attend the festival and spend a happy Adha Eid holiday in the UAE.