Saudi companies find new lease on life in UAE

Monday, October 4, 2004

ABU DHABI Saudi Arabian companies have been moving to the United Arab Emirates amid the Al Qaida insurgency campaign in the kingdom.

Hundreds of Saudi companies have moved to the UAE port of Dubai since 2002. Most of the companies were said to have taken advantage of the liberal investment regulations in the free zones and industrial areas of the UAE city.

More than 1,400 companies have registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry since mid-2002, Middle East Newsline reported. Of these companies, 761 came from Saudi Arabia.

UAE officials said Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council firms regard Dubai as a safe haven for investment. The UAE, particularly Dubai, has been largely spared the insurgency attacks by Al Qaida and related groups.

"These companies see in Dubai a safe haven and they see immense opportunities for their investments, political stability, higher returns and a dynamic environment that offers new business opportunities," Dubai Chamber of Commerce director-general Abdul Rahman Al Mutaiwee said.

Saudi companies have reportedly invested several billions of dollars into Dubai. Officials said they have been joined by Western companies that relocated from Saudi Arabia.

"We notice from experience that foreigners who work for these GCC companies prefer to settle in Dubai, thanks to our free market environment," Al Mutaiwee said.

Thousands of Saudi nationals have also bought property in Dubai in 2004. Al Mutaiwee said property investment has yielded a return of up to 10 percent above that offered by regional banks. Dubai has allowed property investment by Saudi as well as other GCC nationals.

"These incentives encourage GCC firms either to expand their businesses in Dubai or establish new ones," Al Mutaiwee said.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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