Two VIP delegations comprising of senior trade development officials and businessmen from Thailand and the Philippines recently visited Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza).
Both the delegations were received by Ibrahim Mohamed Aljanahi, Deputy CEO of Jafza and his team that included Adil Al Zarooni, Senior Vice President Sales, Khadija Al Bastaki, Senior Manager-Asia-Pacific Region and Ibrahim Hadid, Executive-Sales.
Aljanahi in his welcome address expressed his great admiration for the two countries and distinctive trade relations the UAE enjoys with both of them.
Jafza has seen a robust growth in bilateral trade with Thailand and Philippines in the last few years. Aljanahi in his meeting with the two delegations discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations and boost trade exchange. He also invited more companies from both the countries to join and leverage Jafza’s strategic position as the gateway and trade and logistics hub for the entire Middle East, Africa and the CIS markets to boost their business growth.
According to Aljanahi, the non-oil trade between Jafza and the Kingdom of Thailand crossed USD 1 billion in 2013 posting a growth of 30% during the preceding 5 years. The trade mostly comprised re-exports of Thai products to different GCC countries. The trade between Dubai and Thailand during the same period reached USD 4.6 billion. Thailand’s trade with Jafza comprised of building and construction material, chemicals, electronics, food and beverage and jewelry. Jafza-Philippine trade in 2013 reached USD 190 million.
The possibility to establish business incubators for Thailand and Philippine in Jafza were also discussed during the meeting. “We have six business incubators operating in the Free zone at present. Three more are expected to be operational soon,” he added.
Business incubators are designed to support small and medium enterprises from countries who are interested in exploring business opportunities in the Middle East, Africa and the CIS, which Jafza as a trade and logistics hub serves. Business Incubators are essentially a collaborative initiative between Jafza and the interested country to support SMEs. Under the collaborative agreement Jafza leases a facility to the agency which in turn sub-leases operating space to the entrepreneur to have the first-hand experience of the regional markets and the business prospects for them therein, at a minimum cost.
Adil Al Zarooni in his presentation highlighted huge opportunities Jafza as a hub offers to businesses in Thailand and Philippines. He also talked about various growth driven smart initiatives Dubai Government has taken recently opening wide range of lucrative prospects for investors.
30-member Philippine delegation included investors and senior government officials and was led by Althea Karen P. Antonio, Chief of Staff, Office of the Undersecretary of the Industry Promotion Group, Department of Trade and Industry. The Thailand delegation was led by Siriporn Nurugsa, Executive Director, International Affairs Bureau at Thailand Board of Investment. Board of Investment operates under the Prime Minister’s office and is the principal government agency for encouraging investment.
Rushika Bhatia Editor
Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.