Dubai firm to build US business park

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Dubai: Unfazed by last year's political opposition to DP World over the takeover of key US ports, Dubai's Jafza International said it will build a large business park in the United States, for this it has completed the purchase of about 1,300 acres of land near Santee.

Although several Dubai companies have made big investments in the US since a Congressional backlash in early 2006 forced DP World to give up its US port operations, the $600-million business park in South Carolina will be the first major independent greenfield project by a Dubai World entity.

"We think Orangeburg has the potential to become a major logistical hub in the United States," said Chuck Heath, managing director of Jafza International in a statement released Tuesday.

Jafza officials will begin negotiating the details of its investment with state and local officials in the next few weeks, according to the statement.

Orangeburg County Development Commission executive director Gregg Robinson said he was "excited" about the project, which is expected to create up to 10,000 jobs in the area.

"It appears that Jafza has done a good job of laying groundwork with local and state officials in South Carolina," David Hamod, president of Washington-based National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, told a news paper.

He said the deal "sends a message that Dubai investors are here to stay" and that the DP World episode was a "learning experience for everyone".

In August, Dubai World announced an investment of $5.1 billion in the American entertainment firm MGM Mirage.

Jafza International is a sister company of DP World, which initially won federal approval last year to run six major U.S. ports before congressional objections to a Middle Eastern company handling the sensitive job caused the deal to fall through.

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