(ANSA) - Dubai, October 23 - Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Chief Commissioner Kamel Mahadin was a speaker at the third Global Free Trade and Special Economic Zones Summit in Dubai, which opened on Monday and runs until Wednesday October 23.
The event is focused on discussing important topics concerning special economic and duty-free zones and has so far featured many interesting debates that were beneficial for participants.
Keynote speakers at the summit included: Dr Abdulrazak Faris Al Faris, chief economist of Economic Policy and Research Center of the Dubai Economic Council, H.E. Juma Al Kait, assistant undersecretary for foreign trade affairs at the UAE's Economy Ministry, and Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Participants from different countries, such as Russia, Malaysia, Jordan, India, Namibia, Kuwait, the USA and Lebanon, engaged in dynamic discussions on topics including: promoting economic harmonization and integration through free trade and special economic zones; attracting strategic investors to spur international interest and catalyse inward investments; establishing and efficiently running a "one-stop shop" - best practices in tenant after care, development and retention; and other topics on the challenges and aspirations of economic zones worldwide.
Dr. Mahadin was a panelist in two sessions: "Promoting economic harmonization and integration through free trade and special economic zones" and "Evolving industry clusters - connecting industries to create synergy and to promote economic diversification".
During sessions Mahadin noted that: "free trade and special economic zones, one might argue, are all about incentives, tax exemptions, duty-free status, streamlined procedures, ports, airports and much more. While this might indeed be a matter of fact, the fierce competition we face today globally and the constant need for creative financing options for strategic infrastructure projects for counties such as Jordan make it also about entrepreneurship, partnership, and innovation".
Mahadin also said that "creating public-private partnerships is the way to generate creative approaches to the challenges posed by rapid development needs and financial limitations, working in partnership with the local communities - living inside the special economic zones or nearby is the way to ensure sustainability, and true socio-economic growth".
Mahadin briefed the attendees on the success that Aqaba has seen and the big transformation the city is witnessing, turning from being a sleepy port town into a world-class business hub and leisure destination, and invited attendees to visit Aqaba and see first-hand its unique governance model and competitive investment advantages.
"Developing partnership between us, exchanging knowledge and experience, will certainly benefit us all," he said.
Mahadin also referred to the memorandum of understandings (MoU) ASEZA signed recently to increase cooperation with counties such as Turkey and China.
He noted that: "over the last year we in Aqaba have signed a MoU with Turkish Free Zones (TFZ) for the exchange of expertise in information technology and the development of free zones. We also signed a twin-city agreement with Shizuishan of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to enhance levels of cooperation in different fields, including the energy sector, and to better enable the private sectors in both cities to establish stronger business ties and exchange knowledge and experience between parties".