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30/04/2013 Abu Dhabi Readies Launch Of New Free Zone


The Government of Abu Dhabi has approved Federal Decree 15 of 2013 providing for the formation of the territory's first financial free zone, the Abu Dhabi World Financial Market.

Plans for the zone - measuring in at 1,680 square kilometers - have yet to clarify whether the zone will target its own financial services niche or look to muscle in on the business of existing financial centers in the region in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Doha, Qatar, or the various tax-free zones in fellow emirate Dubai.

Across the border in Dubai, the Dubai International Financial Center has quickly expanded in the nine years it has been operational, attracting the world's largest financial services, banking, and insurance companies.

Discussing Abu Dhabi's plans in an interview with local paper, the National, Habib Al Mulla, a Dubai lawyer who helped establish the DIFC's legal framework before the free zone was launched in 2004, opined that the plans were a positive development for the United Arab Emirates. As the number of financial institutions increases, the UAE will see more choice and deeper, more liquid capital markets, he suggested, adding that domestic companies will have immediate access to invaluable financial services expertise on their doorstep.