UAE emirate attracts Indian investors

UAE emirate attracts Indian investors

Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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Dubai: Thirty percent of the $2 billion foreign direct investment in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE has come from Indian companies, according to its investment authority.

"Since its inception in 2005, RAKIA (Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority) has been able to register more than 1,150 companies from various industry segments and attract close to $2 billion of investment from all over the world," RAKIA chief executive Khater Massad said at a seminar Monday on investment opportunities in Ras Al Khaimah.

"Approximately 30 percent of the investments in RAKIA free zones and industrial zones have come from India in various manufacturing sectors," he said.

RAKIA organised the seminar in partnership with the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai, to promote the emirate as an investment destination for Indian businesses.

Massad said RAKIA has leased around eight million square metres of land for industrial use, attracting a diverse mix of industries financed by European, Arab, Southeast Asian and Indian investors.

"Factors such as 100 percent income and corporate tax exemptions, 100 percent capital and profit repatriation, easy availability of labour, easy licensing procedures, excellent port facilities, and absence of foreign exchange controls, trade barriers and quotas have attracted investors from across the globe to Ras Al Khaimah," he said.

India's Ambassador to the UAE Talmiz Ahmad, who was present at the seminar, called for more Indian investment in Ras Al Khaimah.

"Over the last few decades, Indo-UAE relations have grown impressively at all levels, resulting in a range of bilateral benefits," he said.

"Seminars such as these will go a long way in strengthening relations between the two countries, while maximising investment from the Indian business community in high potential business hubs such as Ras Al Khaimah."

Ras Al Khaimah's GDP currently stands at $2.52 billion, having grown by over 50 percent over the last four years.

According to a RAKIA statement, the low cost of operations of doing business at Ras Al Khaimah has prompted FDI Magazine of Britain's Financial Times newspaper to rate the emirate as the most cost effective business destination in the region.

Standard & Poor's (S&P) ratings agency recently awarded Ras Al Khaimah a long-term 'A' rating and a short-term grade of 'A-1' for foreign and local currency sovereign risk, the statement said.

Stating that the UAE has had trade relations with India since several decades, Massad said: "Today, the UAE has emerged as the second largest market globally for Indian products, while Indo-UAE trade is now valued at over $18 billion and growing every year."

The UAE, he said, is a longstanding commercial and business hub of the region, and has emerged as the world's third major re-export centre after Singapore and Hong Kong.

"Thus, the UAE market is important to Indian businessmen for the opportunities it provides as a major sourcing centre for key markets such as Iran, Iraq, North and East Africa, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and eastern European countries in addition to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he said.

"The emergence of the UAE as a re-export centre is reflected in our growing trade, which has shown significant growth over the past few years, with Indian exports to the UAE for the period 2006-2007 standing at $11.7 billion as compared to $7.33 billion in 2005-06."
Source: IANS
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