In international legal practice, there are many definitions of the concept of a “special economic zone”. Summarizing them, it is possible to define a “special economic zone” as part of the territory of the state with a special mode of carrying out entrepreneurial activity, created to achieve certain goals of the country’s socio-economic development.
Currently, there are about 1200 special economic zones in the world, accounting for between 10% and 20% of the world commodity turnover.
There are four main types of special economic zones:
1) Free trade zones are territories intended for duty-free importation of goods with a view to stimulating the import and development of trade; according to experts, there are about 400 such zones in the world;
2) Industrial or industrial-production zones are the territories uniting industrial production complexes, whose residents receive certain tax and non-tax privileges; the total number of such zones in the world is 300;
3) Technological innovation zones (scientific parks, technoparks, technopolises) are research and production complexes, including a research center and a compact industrial area adjacent to it, where on lease or other conditions small science-intensive firms are located; there are about 400 such zones in the world;
4) Ecological-economic and highly specialized zones (service zones or service zones) are territories that specialize in the production of environmentally friendly products, environmental protection equipment, providing recreational and financial services; in comparison with other zones, the number of such territories is the smallest and is 100.
Such a diversity of types of special economic zones can be explained by the gradual evolution of their organizational and functional forms from simple to more complex ones.
In this connection, four generations of special economic zones are usually singled out:
– free trade zones, located mainly in large transport hubs in developing and developed countries, for example, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Italy.
– industrial or industrial-production zones, present in South Korea, Brazil, Mexico.
– technological innovation zones or technopolises, technology parks located in Japan, the USA, Western Europe, India, Southeast Asia.
– ecological and economic and highly specialized zones (service areas or service areas) operating in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Cyprus, and the Caribbean.
All the above types and types of special economic zones are represented on the territory of the UAE. The choice of such a zone directly depends on the nature of the activity.
The largest number of special economic zones is concentrated in Dubai. As a rule, such zones are commercial, and local legislation provides clear requirements for the order of registration of legal entities in them. A distinctive feature of the trade zones in the UAE is the possibility of 100% participation in them of foreign capital, which significantly expands the opportunities and prospects for doing business in the UAE.