Saturday 24, September 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), Dubai and the UAE’s flagship trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region and Africa organised the Japanese Business Forum, recently, to promote trade relations and explore future opportunities in various sectors.

The forum, graced by Hisashi Michegama Consul General of Japan in Dubai, was also attended by Ibrahim Mohammed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer at Jafza, and Talal Al Hashimi, Chief Operating Officer, senior officials from The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Japan Business Council, Japanese companies operating in Jafza.

Opening the session, Al Hashimi stressed on the importance of the forum in strengthening relations between Jafza and the Japanese business community by exchanging views and opinions including business development and growth plans of the companies. Al Hashimi also praised Japanese companies in Jafza for their significant role in the Free Zone’s journey over the past 30 years and thanked them for their confidence in the Free Zone’s logistical and administrative capabilities.

Al Hashimi said: “Japan is one of our most important partners with some of the renowned names from various sectors setting up their regional base here. In the last three decades, Japanese companies have played a pivotal role in stimulating trade between Jafza and the various regional countries due to the high export competitiveness enjoyed by Jafza regionally and globally.
Trade figures worth $2.7 billion, a growth of 36% over the past five years, and the addition of new Japanese companies annually, reflect the positive movement of the trade within Jafza.”

He pointed, “Jafza has become a distribution hub for Japanese goods and products and support the companies in reaching the regional countries and beyond. In May, we organized a successful roadshow to Japan comprising seminars in 3 prominent cities that was attended by more than 220 investors.”

Speaking at the forum, the Consul General of Japan in Dubai said, “The statistics issued by the International Monetary Fund reveal a strong and stable economy for the UAE that will continue to register an upward trend for the next few years. This is a convincing sign of the opportunities in store for Japanese companies in various sectors here. The Japanese companies realize the importance of Dubai in connecting us to the regional markets and remain the favourite destination for businesses. Trade exchange between Dubai and Japan has witnesses a steady growth since 2009 and there is an year-on-year increase in the number of Japanese companies in Jafza.”

Koji Tomita, President of the Japanese Business Council (JBC) in Jafza and Director of Nissan Middle East gave the forum attendees a brief glimpse into the role of the Council in developing trade ties between Japanese companies and Jafza.

Tomita said, “The Council, which was founded in 2009 with 32 members, was the first Japanese business council in the Middle East. Today, the JBC comprises over 177 members from Dubai and Northern Emirates, off which 53 members are companies based in Jafza. The council plays a vital role in supporting business growth for the Japanese companies in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Further, Masami Ando, Managing Director, JETRO — Middle East and North Africa emphasized on the organisation’s role in promoting trade relations with various countries of the region, opening new markets and exploring new investment opportunities for Japanese companies.

Khaled Al Marzooqi, Senior Manager Sales, Asia and the Pacific at Jafza, concluded the forum with a presentation that showcased some of the important initiatives undertaken by Jafza to upgrade the infrastructure and systems to facilitate smooth and swift operations. He also highlighted that Jafza recently launched the Japan business centre for small- and medium-sized enterprises, with five Japanese companies currently operating.

Forum was attended by leading Japanese companies including; Sony, Nissan, Panasonic, Nippon Steel, Sumitomo, Komatsu, Toshiba, and Brother International.