Brussels, 4 July 2006
Enhancing mutual cooperation in order to counter fraud, counterfeiting and trade related malpractice is the aim of recent contacts between the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) in Dubai. The two bodies declared today their intention to reinforce their operational cooperation. It is the first cooperation of this kind that OLAF is developing with a free zone authority and will complement the existing close cooperation with other partners in Dubai – in particular the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and the Customs authorities.
The Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) is the largest free zone in the Middle East / North Africa Region hosting more than 6000 international companies. It is a major hub for trade to and from the European Union. Within the broader framework of the Free Trade Agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Community currently under negotiation, OLAF and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority are reinforcing cooperation in order to prevent fraud and trade related malpractice.
This development is starting with cooperation on practical cases and will extend to supporting the development of anti-fraud structures in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, in particular the establishment of a business intelligence and anti-fraud unit there. The cooperation is intended to improve investigative procedures and to minimise the potential for fraud. It will also provide for developing a guide for good practice in international trade for the purposes of the Jebel Ali Free Zone and will reduce the risk of the Jebel Ali Free Zone being misused for unlawful practices. If such cooperation proves successful, it could be the forerunner of similar arrangements in other parts of the world.
On OLAF activities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) see also Press Release