Dubai Airport Freezone Authority: born free

With a customer-focused environment and the provision of a huge constellation of services and benefits, the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority makes the emirate's free zone the obvious choice for companies looking to settle in the region.

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) was established in 1996 as part of the Dubai Government's strategic plan to move the emirate towards an investment-driven economy.

DAFZA is one of the fastest-growing premium free zones in the region, and today it accommodates more than 1,600 international companies in electronics, electrical materials, engineering and building, aerospace and aviation, pharmaceutical products, logistics, cargo and freight, jewellery, materials, and food and beverage companies.

Being adjacent to Dubai International Airport, one of the world's busiest airports with 24-hour access to logistics and customs procedures, makes DAFZA an ideal place to set up a company or headquarters. These factors have resulted in it witnessing strong growth over recent years - in 2013, the free zone saw a 42% increase in revenue compared with 2012. DAFZA issued 196 licences for global organisations to operate from the free zone in 2013. Currently, 31% of its client businesses are European, while 17% are Asian and 8% American.

Among an array of business services provided to organisations operating out of the free zone is the assurance that new tenants are strongly supported by providing them with fast paperwork processing, work visas, rapid customs clearance and a wealth of other support services through its highly trained and customer-oriented staff.

Leading - by example

One company benefitting from such service is Swiss group Richemont. It owns several of the world's leading brands in the field of luxury goods, with particular strengths in jewellery, luxury watches and writing instruments.

The company's luxury interests encompass several of the most prestigious names in the luxury industry, including Cartier, Chloé, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Dunhill, Panerai, A.Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Roger Dubuis, and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Christoph Thomet, Richemont Dubai chief operating officer, says: "We find the facilities, services and support provided to the tenants by DAFZA of a very high standard. We have a long-standing relationship and close collaboration with the free zone that spans over a decade."

Value added, no tax

The companies in the free zone cover a diverse spectrum of industries that meet the needs of international investors looking to access Middle Eastern and African markets. This alignment will lead to ongoing business integration and boost economic relationships between the UAE and other countries.

International investors can enjoy dynamic growth through DAFZA's excellent incentive packages, including 100% tax exemption, 100% foreign ownership, and no currency restrictions.

DAFZA provides value-added services to companies wishing to invest in the region by facilitating a unique business platform, a constant desire for excellence in service delivery, and customer relations supported by a customer-centric business environment.

The free zone offers hassle-free licensing and registration, employee sponsorship services, online transaction processing through a platform called Tas'heel, 24-hour security service, housekeeping and building maintenance. In addition, it also offers tenant companies government services such as immigration, customs and a chamber of commerce.

Firms can also use DAFZA's many facilities, such as postal services, communications and banking, a food court, conference room, business lounge, lecture room, travel agent and turnkey solutions.

The Dubai Airport Freezone is home to more than 1,600 companies.
Dubai offers an excellent setting for any business wishing to enter the region.