As part of its mandate to boost investments into Ras Al Khaimah, a delegation from Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) met a number of French investors as well as owners of SMEs and discussed closer business collaboration. Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone is one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective free trade zones in the UAE. The meetings were held on the sidelines of RAK FTZ’s participation at Forum International PACA 2012, held at Palais de la Bourse in Marseille, France recently. During the event, the RAK FTZ delegation, which was part of the UAE Pavilion, showcased its unique products, services and facilities to a global audience. The forum involved over 30 exhibitors and attracted over 2,000 visitors. Commenting on RAK FTZ’s participation in the event, Oussama El Omari, RAK FTZ Chief Executive Officer said: “Our free zone offers tremendous opportunities for investors from France, especially for the SME sector. The current economic austerity in Europe is an opportunity for French companies to look further afield at potential market openings in this region, in particular the UAE to expand their reach.” Oussama El Omari also said, “We can help them grow their business through our international network of offices and the free zone’s cost-effective model. It is a great opportunity for them to establish their presence in the Middle East, given our strategic location.” As part of the meetings, the RAK FTZ delegation reinforced the salient advantages of setting up business at the free zone, and the growth potential it offers as a strategic gateway to the entire Middle East. They also highlighted the easy solutions on offer for French companies to expand their businesses in the region. During the forum, the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone team made a presentation on the advantages of company establishment at RAK FTZ and provided details about the cost-effective market entry solutions to the region. The RAK FTZ team, included Ahmed Suwaid and Moza Al Shamsi from the RAK FTZ Marketing and Business Investment team and Joyce Choukri, from the Regional Office in Europe. “Since the inception of RAK FTZ, it has been committed to pro-investment policies supporting free trade and the entrepreneurial spirit. Our participation at Forum International PACA 2012 was aimed at attracting Small and Medium Enterprices (SMEs) and other investors from France to Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone. Our meetings with the French investors highlighted the tremendous opportunities on offer at the free zone,” shared Joyce Choukri. “The forum involved companies from across various business sectors and our meetings were very fruitful. We expect a lot of business collaborations and partnerships from this event in the months to come. Special investment options were also unravelled during the forum, which included promotional packages on offer for the French investors,” She added. France’s direct investments in the UAE account for almost 20 per cent of its overall investments in the GCC. Although, France mainly invests in oil, gas and the financial sectors, it also has investments in the hi-tech and service sectors. The UAE became France’s leading trade partner in the GCC in 2011 with the value of French exports to the UAE rising to more than EUR3.5 billion last year. Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) is one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective free trade zones in the UAE. With a reputation for affordability, flexibility and broad geographical reach, RAK FTZ is rapidly emerging as the preferred business hub in the region, from which investors can easily access and branch into the emerging markets. 2010 marked RAK FTZ’s 10th year in operation, and in the past decade, it has gone from strength to strength, garnering accolades and awards along the way. Since its establishment in 2000, with only a handful of staff and a few offices, the free zone has grown by leaps and bounds and is now home to some 5,000+ active companies from 106 countries around the globe, employs more than 350 full-time staff, operates business and promotion centres in four locations in the UAE and has an expanding international presence, with liaison offices in Germany, Turkey, India and the USA.