Peter Fort, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ), one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective free zones in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was a featured speaker on a panel at the inaugural Financial Times fDi Forum in London, where he encouraged top international investors to choose RAK FTZ as the business-friendly investment destination for expanding companies into the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
"Choosing the right location can be a critical decision that determines the success or failure of a business, and Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone is uniquely suited to facilitate successful set up of new businesses and company subsidiaries," Mr Fort said. "Just an hour's drive away from Dubai, RAK FTZ has a strategic geographical location that gives investors easy access to fast-growing markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and also allows them to tap into the trade flows between East and West. Additionally, Ras Al Khaimah benefits from sound economic policies, a business-friendly regulatory environment and permanent zero tax policy."
The forum, presented by Financial Times Live and fDi Magazine, was a high-profile leadership summit for corporate decision-makers and cross-border investment professionals from around the world. Featuring panel discussions, presentations and networking opportunities, the summit brought together international business leaders, corporate advisors and site selectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities that companies face when they expand into new markets around the world.
The panel featuring Mr Fort, who is also the senior economic advisor to the Government of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, centred on site selection and location choices for successful companies. The panel also included senior executives from General Electric; Dell Corporation; BMC Software, an American company that specialises in business service management software; R&S Immobilienmanagement GmbH, a German real estate company; and other entities.
During the panel discussion, Mr Fort shared the benefits of setting up shop at RAK FTZ, which allows 100% foreign ownership, full repatriation of capital and profits, and full tax exemption to investors. RAK FTZ has flexible business centre facilities, offices, warehouses and land for lease across four specialised free zone parks.
The free zone parks include a Business Park for office clients, an Industrial Park for heavy manufacturing, a Technology Park for trading and light manufacturing, and an Academic Zone for educational institutions.
Additionally, Mr Fort said, RAK FTZ provides investors with a variety of facilities to suit clients' specific business needs, including flexi offices, executive offices, warehouses, and land for development. The free zone is home to over 7,500 companies from more than 100 countries, representing more than 50 industry sectors.
"RAK FTZ has been recognised not only by our clients, but also by Financial Times' fDi Intelligence as one of the fastest, most business-friendly free zones in the UAE," Mr Fort said. "RAK FTZ provides a safe, secure, flexible, and cost-effective investment environment. Our clients benefit from fast-tracked visas and licensing, as well as ongoing business support, including advertising, procurement, event management, recruitment and training assistance. Clients can also build labour accommodations on site, eliminating the need for labour transportation risks and costs. Additionally, companies in RAK FTZ have the freedom to source labour and materials globally. Importantly, the costs of living and doing business in Ras Al Khaimah are substantially lower than in other emirates, allowing clients to maximise profits. We welcome investors from around the world to join us in our ongoing and future success."