Jafza OverviewJebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), has seen 3-fold increase in the number of companies in the FMCG, Food and Healthcare sector in the last ten years. The sector is estimated to have generated trade worth over AED 30 billion in 2014.

These numbers were revealed by Talal Al Hashimi, Chief Operation Officer of Jafza in his welcome note at the Jafza Customer Forum for FMCG, Food and Healthcare companies, held recently at the TechnoPark based state-of-the-art Business Park.

According to Talal Al Hashimi, the continued focus of regional governments on building social and economic infrastructure, despite decline in oil prices, will provide further push to already growing food and healthcare markets. These opportunities must be capitalized on. The forum aims for a comprehensive dialogue to find ways to take optimum leverage of emerging opportunities and boost growth in the FMCG, Food and Healthcare sector.

Al Hashimi also highlighted the recent initiative of Economic Zones World (EZW), the parent company of Jafza, to position Dubai and the Free Zone as the global hub for Halal products.

“The global Halal market is valued at USD 2.3 trillion and it is estimated that one out of every four human beings consumes halal products. The EZW initiative opens huge additional opportunities for Jafza based companies in the sector,” he said.

EZW, early last year, announced the plan to develop two world-class Halal Zones, one in Jafza and another in TechnoPark, specifically designed to cater to the regional and international Halal Product markets. The move seeks to support Dubai assume the status of the capital of the world’s Islamic Economy as well as “the global hub for Halal products”.

EZW plans to develop Halal Zones as all-inclusive hubs, supported with world-class infrastructure, perfectly suited to attract leading enterprises in the entire gamut of halal industry.

Halal Zones will integrate a one-stop-shop system to service each and every need of customers in the halal supply chain, offering ease of doing business. EZW seeks to collaborate and attract organisations, associations, accreditation bodies, R&D, as well as advisory firms to support the entire halal value chain right from R&D, product development to sourcing, production, logistics, sales and marketing.

Jafza seeks to promote the Halal Standards globally, which are being evolved by Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA) to attract enterprises within the Halal industry.

The National Halal Mark developed by ESMA was officially released at the recently held Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai. Two companies have been certified to use the Halal Mark at the event.

The Forum included a dedicated workshop held by ESMA which briefed Jafza customers on various aspects of National Halal Mark including legal framework, scope of regulation, definitions, procedure for obtaining Halal Mark and applicable standards.