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Jafza, Afghanistan agree to boost trade ties
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DUBAI: A 24–member US Department of Commerce supported Afghan business delegation visited Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) recently to explore business opportunities in the region from the free zone.

The delegation comprised top executives of leading companies from the construction and construction materials sector and was part of the United States Department of Commerce Afghan Business Development Programme (ABDP), designed to help Afghan businesses identify and grow their business capabilities through strategic planning and international study tours.

The ABDP provided leading Afghan business leaders the opportunity to explore possibilities to set-up their regional hubs in Jafza to serve the Middle East region. US Department of Commerce selected Dubai and Jafza for their strategic importance as the Middle East’s trade and business hub. Afghani business leaders sought Jafza’s help in exploring business opportunities in the Middle East and in finding key potential partners in the region.

The delegation was received by Adil Al Zarooni, Senior Vice President, Global Sales at the Free Zone. Al Zarooni briefed the delegation the strategic importance of Jafza as the Middle East’s “the business and trading hub”. “Jafza’s strategic importance can easily be adjudged by the fact that more than 6,800 world’s finest companies have chosen the Free Zone for their regional base. These companies have generated trade worth $70 billion through Jafza alone in the year.” Al Zarooni said.

Speaking on the opportunities for the construction sector focused delegation, Al Zarooni said: “An estimated $4.2 trillion will be invested in construction projects across the Middle East and North Africa region in the next ten years, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) representing the largest slice at $698 billion. At present, construction projects worth more than $1 trillion are underway in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar alone”.

“This affords major opportunities for industry majors in the construction sector from Afghanistan. Jafza, Middle East’s trade and logistics hub, offers perfect platform to the investors from where they can reach the entire region efficiently.”

There are currently over 1,350 construction companies in Jafza who together generated over $4 billion in trade in 2011. Al Zarooni assured the delegates Jafza’s full support in all their ventures whenever they need.

Jafza is currently home to more than 20 Afghani companies. The combined turnover of these companies stood at $396 million in 2011. Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) is one of the world’s leading free zones. Established in 1985, Jafza is today home to over 6,800 companies, including more than 120 of the Global Fortune 500 enterprises from across the world.

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