30-01-2018 01:50 AM العقبة 1414
Start your project in PBI Aqaba
Aqaba demonstrates that opportunity within Jordan's coastal city goes beyond its shores
al Aqaba -alanbat
PBI Aqaba Industrial Estate partners and management aim to develop and promote regional and international manufacturing, as one of the pillars of the Jordanian economy and particularly for the economy of Aqaba.
Sheldon Fink, Chairman and CEO of PBI Aqaba told “Investor Today” magazine that PBI aims to do so by supporting and encouraging the industrial and logistical sectors in Jordan, which he described as “the kind of businesses that are very good for creating employment in relation to the amount of money invested per job.”
One of the company’s main objectives is to create new job opportunities and to maximize the added value to improve the future of the residents of Aqaba. In addition PBI Aqaba aims to achieve this whilst maintaining a safe, clean, and aesthetic environment.
The company highlighted the importance of the industrial sector in the city
Mr. Fink spoke about the history of the company and said: “when we first arrived in Jordan, the vision held for Aqaba was principally based on the tourism sector and very little attention was paid to the role of industry. As time went on, the company was able to demonstrate the importance and value of industry for the region and for Aqaba”.
The task now is to continue attracting more local and especially international investment so as to continue this success.
The company enjoys a strategic location for investment
While speaking, he pointed to the great location of the company, which is situated next to the King Hussein International Airport, and just 15 km from the Sea Port in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ).
He continued: “Aqaba is Jordan’s only seaport; it serves as a forwarding and trans-shipment port to Iraq and other neighboring countries”. This great location serves to make AIIE a very attractive investment location. Mr. Fink states that “Aqaba is very well placed in the Middle East, and Jordan is perceived as and is a safe haven”, adding that, “as a result of Jordan’s good relations with other nations, it means that it is easy to market to all of the countries in the region, which may not be possible when based in other locations due to political disputes.”
Wide range of incentives and benefits to investors
Further advantages to being based in the Industrial Estate at Aqaba include benefits of the International Market Access Agreements that Jordan is party to including WTO, US FTA, EU FTA, AFTA, and QIZ.
Companies located at AIIE are not subjected to any limitation or restriction imposed by such agreements on “Free-Zones”, which is a significant incentive for investors, Mr. Fink said, adding that, there are also no duties on raw materials and equipment or any bond or guaranty requirements.
Additionally, there are no restrictions on foreign currency transactions and when it comes to foreign ownership there are no requirements for local partners and foreigners may own a 100% interest in companies and in land at AIIE.
70% of employees may be foreign without the need for special approval other than the customary visa formalities. If no Jordanian employees are available for specific jobs, then the 70% quota may be increased. However, in practice over 60% of the workers at AIIE are Jordanian.
Further benefits include the fact that according to the Law, ASEZ registered enterprises will be subjected only to a flat 5% income tax on net profits.Training support is also offered to those located in its premises. Additionally, PBI Aqaba provides support and assistance to any investors that have to deal with government agencies and the local community both before and after commencement of their operations.
Inside the AIIE, investors may capitalize in a wide variety of activities including metals and engineering industries, logistics and warehousing, construction materials, food processing, plastics finished products, consumer electronics, energy saving systems, packaging and printing.
Aqaba International Industrial Estate
Presently, there are companies located in AIIE from all over the world including US, Germany, Canada, Libya, Turkey and Syria. In the past few years various international companies that traditionally did not consider having a base in the Middle East, are now looking towards AIIE as an attractive location to do business.
The Aqaba International Industrial Estate has been internationally recognized as one of the world leading projects of its type. It was recently ranked 10th out of the MENA “Free Zones of the Future” in a list compiled by the FDI Intelligencemagazine, put out by the UK’s Financial Times.
In addition, in its October/November 2015 issue, the Financial Times magazine recognized AIIE in its “Best in Class” global winners.
FDI Magazine (Financial Times) in its 2016 and 2017 issues, recognized winners among global Free Zones including Special Economic Zones and Industrial Estates.
AIIE was commended as a Best in Class Winner in two categories:
- Safe haven award
- China strategy
Aqaba International Industrial Estate is the only zone in Jordan included in the list of winners.
To boost the international investment in the industrial estate, Mr. Fink said PBI Aqaba on its own initiative introduced ASEZ to the investment community in Shenzhen and other cities in South East China, which resulted in the signing of a joint venture between the Shenzhen Chamber of Investment (SZCI), the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and AIIE to market, encourage and support investment.
Also, AIIE has opened an office in Shenzhen in cooperation with the SZCI - PBI Aqaba Industrial Estate LLP is a partnership registered in the United Kingdom that develops and manages the Aqaba International Industrial Estate (AIIE) under a concession contract with the Jordanian government. Its partners are from the US, UK, and Turkey.
During the last decade, PBI Aqaba has marketed land areas of approximately 900,000m2. Infrastructure is in place for that area and for an additional 500,000m2. In addition AIIE has an undeveloped land reserve of 400,000m2 that is to be developed in the coming years and, , the company is presently preparing an additional area of 1.2 million m2.
Total investment exceeds $500 million. By the end of the next decade PBI Aqaba’s goal is to reach $ onebillion of investment with the occupied area exceeding 1.7 million m2. By the end of 2017 the Industrial Estate has created over 2,000 new jobs, and when fully occupied, will provide jobs for over 5,000 employees.