Hamriyah chief for setting up shops globally

Kochi: “Companies in both Kerala and Sharjah should take maximum gains from the World Trade Organisation regime to set up shops globally. Those firms which are still thinking domestically and locally will be left out in this era of globalisation,“ says Rashid al Leem, director-general, Hamriyah Free Zone, Government of Sharjah.

In an interview with domain-b, al Leem, who is here to explore business opportunities in Kerala, says the historical trade relations between India and Sharjah, which date back to over 700 years, should form the basis for new and stronger economic ties.

Al Leem has another reason to be Kerala-friendly — over 55 per cent of the 1,200 employees (skilled and semi-skilled workers) in the Free Zone are from Kerala. “The workers from Kerala are the best among the lot.“

The Hamriyah Free Zone is in itself a model for India. For, the zone allows 100-per cent ownership, zero taxation, 100-per cent repatriation of profits and, last but not the least, clearance for setting up business in 24 hours' time. “We provide hassle-free environment for business to operate smoothly and efficiently,“ says al Leem, who will meet a host of entrepreneurs and government officials during his stay in the state.

The Hamriyah Free Zone, which has 230 companies from 41 countries including the US, Australia, Iran, Pakistan and India, is keen that companies from Kerala set up shops in the Free Zone. “Each market has its own specifications. Those companies who are looking for international presence and have discovered new markets in Africa should look at Hamriyah.“

Al Leem, who visited Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) at Kakkanad and the two units in the zone (computer-maker NeST and the ceramics unit of Muthoot), says the CSEZ has its own unique advantages. “The seaport is just a few miles away. The strategic advantage CSEZ occupies should be taken maximum advantage of.“

And with companies like British Petroleum, UK multinational Anmaar and Italian evaporator and pipe fabricator Bellily under the belt, he still feels there are companies in Kerala that can contribute to the Hamriyah Zone.