EPA-SPCFZ MoU to offer publishers big rent discounts in Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone

03:52 PM | 18 Mar, 2019
EPA-SPCFZ MoU to offer publishers big rent discounts in Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone
SHARJAH - The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ) to introduce new benefits and privileges designed to boost UAE’s publishing landscape by strengthening support to Emirati publishers.

In the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Vice President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and Founder and President of EPA, the MoU was signed by HE Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA and Salim Omar Salim, Director of Sharjah Publishing City (SPC).

The signing ceremony was also attended by HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), Ali Shaali, Vice President of EPA; Ali bin Hatem, Secretary of EPA; and Mohamed Noor, Consultant at SPC.

Under the MoU, EPA will encourage its member publishers to set up their businesses in SPCFZ, and SPCFZwill grants them 60 per cent off on rents of the flexi desks for two years from the lease’s start date. Effectively, the per sqm rates will go down to AED400.

SPCFZ will also provide EPA members discounts up to 48 per cent on leasing unfurnished offices, bringing the per sqm rates down from AED1,350 to AED 700. Those who rent furnished offices will be offered a per sqm rate of AED 900 – 42 per cent below the original value of AED1,550.

SPCFZ, an SBA subsidiary, is the first publishing and printing free zone in the world. It offers a plethora of attractive commercial perks including 100 per cent foreign ownership and profit expatriation along with a state-of-the-art infrastructure with fully-furnished office spaces, and other value additions like editorial support and print-on-demand services.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, said: “We are keen to collaborate with other cultural entities in the country to achieve common goals envisioned for the future of the local publishing industry, one of which is to fuel the growth of Emirati publishers and enhance their global competitiveness. This MoU is a step forward towards achieving our vision that seeks to support Emirati publishers and enhance their role in boosting the development process, through reducing the burdens of costs and providing them with creative platforms to fulfil their aspiration”.

For his part, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said: “Sharjah continues to lead the way culturally, through an integrated vision, which is based upon collaboration and common objectives, and inspired by the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah”.

He added: “SPCFZ has been established with a key objective of strengthening and advancing the local publishing ecosystem, and takeUAE’s book industry to greater heights. To realise our strategic ambition, we are diversifying efforts so local publishers can deepen their roots, reach wider audiences and compete in the global book market in a manner that is reflective of Sharjah’s cultural identity as a hub of books, knowledge and pioneering cultural initiatives”.

“EPA’s extraordinary efforts led by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi are continually enriching UAE’s cultural journey, which has also expanded into the greater Arab region. EPA has succeeded in setting up a large base for the Emirati book industry and developed carefully-studied strategies to empower local publishers to excel in the region and beyond.”

The SPCFZ will encourage all publishing houses registered in the publishing city to obtain EPA’s membership after the fulfilment of the association’s terms and rules.

The MoU stipulates that the two parties will work towards strengthening mutual cooperation in the field of print and digital advertising materials within the framework of promoting their services.EPA and SPCFZ will also actively exchange knowledge and expertise and explore areas of interest to activate new investments. The two bodies will collaborate on establishing a joint presence in international fairs and exhibitions, and organise informative workshops.

The MoU also stipulates that the two entities will offer the best efforts aimed at making the most of each other’s expertise in their respective areas of competence. Both parties will further the bilateral relations, consolidate beneficial cooperation and share experiences. In doing so, they will ensure fostering strategic fruitful coordination to achieve the common objectives and deliver premium services to publishers and the publishing sectors at the local and regional levels.

The collaboration on reconciling the differences between entities participating in international fairs and exhibitions is aimed at encouraging businesses and contributing to their development. It also aims to provide EPA members with the bidding list, if available, to promote their businesses.

The EPA will be granted an exemption from the fees of Masrah Sheen theatre, and EPA members will be offered a discount on its fees. SPCFZ and EPA will also discuss the possibility of launching joint projects.