The Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZC) recently held its 15th meeting virtually, headed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Free Zones Council, to review the progress on several of its initiatives.
During the meeting, the Council examined the development of a comprehensive post-coronavirus action plan for free zones in Dubai, the free zones business portal, the establishment of a gaming-exclusive zone, the requirements for implementing the economic substance regulations (Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 31 of 2019), and the existing collaboration between DFZC and the Department of Economic Development in Dubai on the protection of consumer rights.
Speaking on the meeting’s discussions, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “The post-coronavirus action plan for free zones supports their existing efforts to enhance their position in supporting the national economy. It also complements the development of a comprehensive geo-economic map for Dubai, in line with the with the Fifty-Year Charter, issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, following the Free Zones 2.0 model that aims to position Dubai as a world-class investment destination across sectors.”
His Highness highlighted that the near future requires an increased level of coordination and teamwork among all free zones to build a favorable economic framework that serves the strategic sectors of Dubai, and position it as a preferred destination for foreign investment and business set-up.
The Council approved the free zones business portal initiative, which will provide investors with a unified communications channel to reach all the free zones in Dubai and facilitate their decision-making process in choosing the most fitting free zone for their business needs.
Council members also discussed establishing a unified record for free zone license numbers, where each free zone would have an exclusive code, in line with the unified database project. This step would streamline availability of information on free zone-registered companies, as well as facilitate the movement of companies among Dubai’s free zones.
The council also discussed the extension duration of the stimulus package, that was announced earlier, for a similar period, in support of the business communities across free zones in Dubai amidst the economic turbulence due to the coronavirus pandemic. The stimulus package, including the facilitation of installments for payments, refunding security deposits and guarantees, and cancelling of fines for companies, aims to enhance financial liquidity of companies operating in the free zones.
Council members discussed as well the initiative related to the establishment of a zone exclusively for electronic games. The team responsible for this initiative presented the requirements and suggestions for next steps following their conversations with the Department of Economic Development in Dubai and the Government of Dubai Media Office, as well as industry experts and private companies that operate in the field.
The initiative aims to set in place priorities that would support investments, and position Dubai as a regional hub for the electronic gaming sector – ultimately supporting Dubai’s innovation- and knowledge-based economy, as well as attracting the sector’s top talent, creative minds, entrepreneurs, and multi-national companies.
In addition, council members reviewed the developments of the economic substance regulations and its potential effects on the free zones and their companies, as well as the steps taken to ensure compliance with international requirements for combating tax evasion and money laundering.
In conclusion, the Council discussed its collaboration with the Department of Economic Development in Dubai with regards to protecting consumer rights, initiating the memorandum of understanding that was signed earlier. DFZC members agreed to increase coordination with the Department to ensure consumers peace of mind across sectors.