IFZA Joins the Premier Conference for the Global Free Zone Industry

The World FZO’s 9th Annual International Conference and Exhibition took place on May 2-3 at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, under the theme of “Global Trade 2.0: Zones, An Ecosystem of Trust Driving Prosperity.”


IFZA Official

The first day saw the presence of high-ranking government officials, including 19 ministers from various countries. The event attracted more than 1,000 Free Zone representatives, experts, investors, and entrepreneurs from more than 70 countries across the globe. Representatives from prominent international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), International Labor Organization and International Road Union were also in attendance.

HE Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of World FZO, delivered the welcome address followed by a thought-provoking speech by IFZA Chairman Martin G. Pedersen. In the presence of Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and other local and international dignitaries.

Pedersen emphasized the importance of staying ahead of the game and constantly seeking new opportunities to succeed as an entrepreneur. He also stressed the significance of embracing a global outlook and being open to remote cooperation, particularly as global governments seek to nurture and develop their artificial intelligence sectors.

He highlighted the huge potential that Dubai and its Free Zones have in this area, pointing out that AI is expected to contribute up to $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

“The role of a Free Zone has never been more crucial than it is today. As facilitators and multipliers of opportunity, Free Zones must ensure they have the agility and sharp decision-making needed in times of great change” He added.

This was followed by the first session titled “A System of Trust: How to Build, Operate and Sustain It”. IFZA CEO Jochen Knecht was joined by Director of Strategic Projects and International Developments, The Institute of Export & International Trade Kevin Shakespeare, World Customs Organization Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Trevino, Dominican Republic Minister of Industry HE Ito Bisono, and Maersk A.P. Moller Global Head of Trade & Customs Consulting Lars Karlsson. The panelist discussed Zones-induced interparty trust within its network of entities. Building and sustaining confidence between parties within a trusted network is the primary force driving the integrity of the zone.

The second session focused on managing the challenges facing global trade and mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. They discussed the global interconnectivity resulting from trade, investment, transportation, and communication links across different special economic and Free Zones across the world.

This was followed up by an interesting session on “Keeping Zones Dynamic”. The panel discussed the winning strategies that have been deployed to keep special economic and Free Zones attractive to investment (FDI and local). They covered various aspects of legislations/regulations to keep zones flourishing as a center of new ideas and investments such as Data centers, metaverse, and more.

IFZA Chairman, Martin G. Pedersen also joined 19 high-ranking government representatives from different member countries in a ministerial meeting.  As the official title sponsor, IFZA’s support of this global event is part of our commitment to forging longstanding partnerships that aim to contribute to Dubai’s leadership position in the global Free Zone industry.

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