Jebel Ali Freezone 2024

Jebel Ali Freezone 2024 – 40 x 50cm, acrylic, oil, wire on canvas

‘Trade out of Dubai is not smuggling, but free enterprise.’ The UK is now the blank slate for the carve-out of 12 Freeports and 74 SEZs, with the main parties being bankrolled by Brexit-supporting multinationals, hedge funders, and Bankers. There was no mandate for this. Dubai had carved out the Jebel Ali Free Zone as an extraterritorial space with the possibility of 100% foreign ownership, no corporate taxes for 15 years, full repatriation of profits and a guarantee of no labour unrest. Jebel Ali Freezone was ceremonially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on her landmark trip to the Middle East. Dubai installed fire-hire-and-deport of foreign workers. In some instances, lack of workers rights left them vulnerable to no pay at all. Jebel Ali followed the model of SEZs around the world but used a patchwork of zones where private laws lured in foreign investors.