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Dubai to launch free zone for wholesalers at airport

Dubai plans to build a 550 million square foot free zone called Dubai Wholesale City to boost exports from the country, according to local media reports.04 Mar 2016

The Dd30 billion ($8 billion) project is expected to attract 15,000 traders, Gulf News has reported.

The plan was announced by the UAE's prime minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Gulf News said.

"The UAE has a clear economic vision for the future, which constitutes creating new economic sector and reformulating current sectors on a global scale. The UAE’s infrastructure, geographical location and institutional services make it the most qualified in leading a new growth in the global trade … Our aim is to build a sustainable national economy. Dependency on oil was never a choice and we will not bind our future to it," Shaikh Mohammad said, according to Gulf News.

The free zone will provide traders with state-of-the-art infrastructure, roads, warehousing, storage facilities and support services, Trade Arabia said.

Dubai Wholesale City will serve sectors including food, construction materials, electrical appliances, electronics, furniture and décor, machinery, equipment, wood, vehicles and spare parts, and textiles and clothing, Trade Arabia said. It will also include 'country pavilions' that include commercial centres and malls offering products from various countries, including India, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Australia, China, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the US and South America.

An online platform will also be launched for the free zone, to encourage e-commerce by traders. E-commerce in the UAE is expected to reach $10 billion by 2018, from the current $2.5 billion, Shaikh Mohammad said, according to Gulf News.

Dubai announced a US$1 billion 'finance zone' last year, with a 50-storey office tower with a hotel and retail outlets will be built next to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The project will financed using the country's sovereign wealth fund.