The value of trade at Dubai’s free zones is projected to grow by five per cent in 2015 to reach AED515 billion from AED489bn reported last year.
Sources from the Dubai Customs and the Chamber of Commerce say the value of trade at the emirate’s free zones could even soar by seven per cent this year.
Currently, free zones trade comprises 37 per cent of the total value of the emirate’s overall trade, Al Bayan reports.
The upbeat projection of free zone-oriented trade is an indication of the major role free zones play in boosting the local economy of Dubai.
The value of the foreign trade of Dubai free zones hit a record high of approximately AED130bn in the first quarter of the current year, up by 6.5 per cent compared with the same period last year.
There are 20,000 companies in Dubai’s free zones from all over the world with their investments comprising nearly 50 per cent of the total foreign direct investments in the emirate.
They provide about 200,000 jobs and contribute 25 per cent (equivalent to AED100bn) to Dubai’s gross domestic product.
Dubai has 23 free trade zones – the largest number of any Middle Eastern city. Jebel Ali Free Zone is Dubai’s most important free zone, accounting for 80 per cent of total trade of the emirate’s free zones.