A new global free zone association has been launched in Dubai.

The World Free Zones Organisation (World FZO) is a new non-profit entity that will serve as an association for free zones around the world. Established in Geneva, Switzerland and headquartered in the Dubai Airport Freezone (Dafza) in the United Arab Emirates, World FZO announced that it intends to "provide global leadership in terms of knowledge of free zones, enhance public and general knowledge and the perception of free zones, provide a range of services for its members and the community, as well as help to increase awareness of the advantages of free zones in terms of economic and social development, foreign and direct investment”.

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It has 14 founding members and will open to membership to representatives of established free zones as well as local, regional and international free zone associations from any United Nation member state.

During the launch, chairman of the association, Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, who is also director-general of Dafza, said: “The World FZO, which we are excited to be launching today, will promote a spirit of collaboration, dialogue and guidance. It will provide help to countries that can benefit from the free zone model; whose economies require FDI in order to build strong, robust and diverse economies for the future.”

He continued: “The UAE has been a shining example of the dynamic role free zones play in economic and social development, and its diversity and vibrancy as a business hub has put the country on the world map. World FZO will further enhance the development of free zones in other parts of the world. With its headquarters here, Dubai and the UAE is positioning itself as a major player in the world economy in the run up to Expo 2020.”

The global launch and unveiling of World FZO took place in May at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai.