One of the largest industrial free zones in the region has been launched in Abu Dhabi, so that foreign companies will be able to establish their wholly-owned operations, it has been announced.
The Chief Executive of Abu Dhabi Port Co (ADPC), Tony Douglas, said that the Abu Dhabi government has granted the status for Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), wherein 100percent foreign ownership is allowed, and this is the first-of-its-kind in Abu Dhabi.
Located mid-way between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, KIZAD has both free zone and an international investment zone status, aimed to diversify the heavily oil-based economy of the country.
The Executive Vice President of Industrial Zones, ADPC, Khaled Salmeen said that the investment zone permits granting long-term contracts of up to 50 years, and is renewable.
However, the 100 percent ownership is not permitted to all foreign companies establishing in the zone. The management is given the authority to decide depending on what will be beneficial to the Abu Dhabi economy in the long-term, said Sultan Al Jaber, the ADPC Chairman.
The free zone status will be granted to few specific companies, industries or manufacturers, provided, their business plan clearly reflects government economic and strategic values, he said.
The first phase of KIZAD is worth Dh.26.5bn and includes the new Khalifa Port. Abu Dhabi, with its 417sqm Industrial Zone, is moving beyond a pure carbon-based economy. By the year 2030, KIZAD will contribute to nearly 15percent of non-oil based GDP of Abu Dhabi. About 60 to 80 percent of goods manufactured at KIZAD will be exported, said Salmeen.
According to Sebastien Henin, the Portfolio Manager at The National Investor bank, this is an indication of openness given to foreign investors entering Abu Dhabi for business purposes.