The World Free Zones Organization (World FZO), the multi-lateral, not-for-profit, global association for free zones, has concluded its inaugural conference and exhibition by committing to continued advocacy amongst policy makers, international organizations and governments to augment the role of free zones around the world.
The conference, attended by 675 delegates and watched by 1,600 via live stream from 120 countries, saw 40 world-class speakers along with global free zone practitioners, academics, policy makers, multi-lateral organizations and business representatives exchange ideas, experiences and visions for a more integrated world trade environment.
A number of key themes emerged from the range of topics discussed: the economic benefits of trade, the importance of innovation and leadership, the opportunity for growth in emerging markets and the potential to attract more small and medium enterprises and start-ups to free zones.
- Robert Koopman, Chief Economist and Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division of the World Trade Zone, discussed global trends, challenges and opportunities
- Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics at Columbia University commented on the history of world trade and economic benefits of exchanging ideas
- His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Port, Customs, Free Zone Corporation and Chairman DP World, highlighted the importance of strong leadership and a spirit of innovation in developing successful free zones
The World FZO also signed two agreements at the conference with the University of Reims and the International Trade Center (ITC). François Bost, Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Reims and Board Director for the World FZO, will oversee the development of a highly comprehensive Free Zone Atlas, mapping free zones around the world and their economic potential. In partnership with the University of Reims, the World FZO will also develop an executive MBA for free zone management.
The second agreement will see World FZO and ITC exploit synergies to deliver training and advisory services to free zones, while also establishing best operating practices.
“The World Free Zones Organization is committed to elevating the role of free zones to become engines of prosperity. The move towards augmenting the role of free zones to support flexibility in international trade and encouraging global FDI, is clearer than ever. The World Free Zones Organization has been overwhelmed by the global support and level of participation from delegates,” said Dr. Samir Hamrouni, CEO, World Free Zones Organization.
“On behalf of the World FZO, I would like to thank our esteemed speakers, delegates, and sponsors for supporting the first annual conference and exhibition and for contributing to a new chapter of collaboration, innovation and exchange,” said Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni, chairman, World FZO. He also confirmed that the second annual Free Zone Outlook International Conference will be held in the UAE next year, before moving to a different country in 2017.
For more information on the World FZO and Free Zone Outlook International visit www.worldfzo.org.