Dubai Free Zones mull One Free Zone Passport

By Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 23 October, 2019: The Dubai Free Zones Council yesterday discussed the one free zone passport – a unified license that allows businesses to operate across the emirate’s free zones with the aim of boosting its attractiveness for international companies.

The one free zone passport will allow companies licensed at a single free zone to also operate in other free zones in Dubai without the need for a second license.

The council also discussed several other initiatives, including proposals related to long-term rental agreements for investors in Dubai’s free zones, the Free Zone 10X platform and Seamless Middle East 2020.

The DFZ Council) held its 13th meeting, headed by Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the DFZ Council, to review the progress in developing a comprehensive geo-economic map of Dubai that seeks to position the emirate as a leading destination for investment and business set-up.

The council reviewed the progress made on developing a geo-economic map of Dubai that is on track as per the 2030 strategic plan. The team working on the initiative comprises a diverse group of professionals, including representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Development Authority, Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Customs, and Dubai Municipality.

Standard Rental

Council members discussed the draft law proposal related to systemizing rental agreements in Dubai’s free zones in coordination with the Dubai Land Department and free zone authorities, with the aim of providing a larger pool of real estate options for companies. One suggestion was to extend the long-term rental duration from the current 25 years to 50 years.

In addition, the DFZ Council reviewed the initiative that aspires to boost the emirate’s attractiveness and encourage international companies to set up their regional headquarters in Dubai through a campaign that highlights four characteristics of the emirate:

  1. A center of excellence for research and development
  2. Gateway into the Middle East, Africa, and Asia
  3. Hub for entrepreneurship and advanced technology
  4. An ideal environment for business

In its first phase, the campaign seeks to attract 400 international companies across diverse sectors.

Furthermore, council members discussed the Free Zone 10X platform, aimed at establishing a financial market that provides companies registered in free zones with funding through IPO listings. An ongoing study, conducted in coordination with relevant parties, is researching the legislative and logistical requirements for implementing the initiative.