ROSE HALL, St James — Jamaica and Dubai on Wednesday took a step closer to greater collaboration that will see both sides benefitting even more from their special economic zones.
Talks, which began during the just-concluded world free zones conference held in Montego Bay, ended with a signed agreement that indicates both sides’ commitment to working together.
“I suspect within another few months we’ll be able to finalise all the details of the agreement. As you can just imagine, it really has evolved from this conference. It was an initial discussion that was held between both organisations and so we just need to take a few more steps to ensure that we can finalise it appropriately,” explained acting CEO of Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) Gary Scott.
He was speaking with the Jamaica Observer after his symbolic exchange of an MOU with deputy to the secretary general of Dubai Free Zone Council, Dr Juma Al Matrooshi.
“They will provide us with support in various aspects of free zone development, education, training, planning for development of zones here in Jamaica, and share their experiences with us,” Scott explained.
Jamaica stands to benefit significantly once the agreement is finalised, he said, as will Dubai.
“Similarly, we are also going to be working with them to identify opportunities here in Jamaica for investments from within the UAE (United Arab Emirates), particularly in Dubai, to be able to bring some investors here into Jamaica,” Scott added.
The agreement will facilitate the hosting of companies from Jamaica into Dubai’s free zones and vice versa.
As Al Matrooshi explained, “the cooperation really is to exchange knowledge, [and] skills between Jamaica’s free zones and Dubai’s free zones, and really to benchmark against each other”.
He said Dubai’s 24 free zones cover everything from the media industry to logistics.
“We are very happy to sign this agreement and to cooperate with Jamaica going forward. And we are looking forward to meet[ting] the Jamaican team coming to Dubai shortly,” he added.
Free zones, also referred to as free trade zones, are geographically defined areas where goods may be imported, stored, handled, manufactured, or reconfigured and re-exported. This is done under specific customs regulation which means goods and generally not subject to customs duty.
Jamaica’s first free zone, Kingston Free Zone (KFZ), was established in 1976, followed by the Montego Bay Free Zone (MBFZ) in 1985.
Dubai’s free zone was established around 1985. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre has been voted the best free zone in the world having been named ‘Global Free Zone of the Year’ for the seventh time in a row in 2021.