UAE can lead global free zones, says Reiter

Joakim Reiter, the deputy secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has said that the United Arab Emirates has an opportunity to emerge as a leader inglobal innovation through its Free zones across the country.

Reiter was speaking on the side-lines of the World Free Zones Organisation's annual International Conference in Dubai, when he said that the UAE's financial position presents an opportunity to the country to emerge as a leader and set examples for the evolution of the world's free zones. During the conference's keynote address, Reiter said that the free zones position themselves as "centres of excellence in corporate sustainability." He claimed that UAE can lead in innovation in the field of World Free Zones.

Reiter said, "In terms of clean-tech, innovation clusters and other areas, it can develop these tools and show other countries what can be done. Whether or not they are scalable for countries with fundamentally different circumstances, I wouldn't be able to judge. That's for these countries to reflect upon. But we need some frontrunners that at least can show that it's possible and I think that some countries in this region are uniquely placed to do this because they have the financial muscle to take a leap of faith."

The three day conference was organised at Dubai's Grand Hyatt hotel and attracted more than 680 participants from 60 countries around the world.