The World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) in cooperation with El
Consorci de la Zona Franca (CZFB), has announced the themes and topics
of its fifth Annual International Conference and Exhibition 2019 (AICE)
taking place in Barcelona, Spain between 26 and 28 June 2019.
announcement came during a press conference in the Spanish city of
Barcelona which highlighted the important role that free zones play in
supporting global supply and value chains. The event also highlighted
the direct contribution free zones have in strengthening trade movement
and growth of economic activities around the world.
the overarching theme of Free Zone 4.0 meets Economy 4.0, the fifth
AICE will address solutions to combatting illicit trade in free zones
and will present tools to measure and track prosperity in free zones
around the globe. The event will also examine the challenges raised by
e-commerce, explore the impact of a shifting political landscape on free
zone activity and assess ways to strengthen the global value chain
through free zones and beyond. The AICE will also host large plenary
sessions, panel discussions as well as parallel workshops and an
extensive exhibition of free zones from around the world.
World FZO Chairman Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni,
said: “The Annual International Conference and Exhibition is a chance
for all members of the World Free Zones Organization to exchange views,
opinions, best practices and experiences, as well as discuss the
challenges facing free zones around the world in achieving its strategic
goals in supporting national economy plans.”
An estimated 2,200
free zones support almost 70 million jobs around the world. These zones
are increasingly involved in international supply chains and global
value chains, yet they face a number of local challenges.
World Free Zones Organization inaugurated ten regional offices during
our last conference,” added Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, “Hosted by local
free zones, these offices will deliver regional events and programs,
ensuring complete cultural and socio-economic relevance in all local
Dr. Al Zarooni announced the launch of several pioneering initiatives
by the World FZO, including an Open University, in partnership with the
University of Dubai, which will be a center for research and executive
education and training for free zone professionals. He also announced a
Safe Zone certification program to combat illicit trade and to promote
oversight and transparency in free zones in line with World Customs Organization and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines.
Al Zarooni announced the launch of the Free Zone of the Future Program
with its associated Izdihar Index, a set of metrics to assess each free
zone against its achievable potential to promote transparent best
practices, an innovative spirit and sustainable procedures.
AICE is held on alternate years in either Dubai, where the World FZO is
headquartered, or a foreign location. The choice of Barcelona in 2019
was ideal for Pere Navarro, Chairman of El Consorci de la Zona Franca.
He explained that Barcelona was the right choice “because of its close
links to the Customs Authority and its promotional role for Catalonia
and Spain in the exhibition, logistics and real estate sectors. CZFB is
uniquely and relevantly positioned to host the World Free Zones
Organization annual event.”
The last edition of the Annual International Conference and
Exhibition was held in Dubai last year under the patronage of His
Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and attended by H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. Over 1,100 people from 71 countries attended the event.
by more than 1091 representatives and experts from more than 71
countries, AICE concluded with the Dubai Declaration, a commitment to
greater cooperation between international free zones for enhanced safety
and security of trade and the global supply chain, bringing prosperity
to people around the world. The Declaration, signed by representatives
from 57 countries, will introduce the World FZO Safe Zone concept - a
code of conduct model for free zones; encouraging enhanced management
and monitoring of the entire supply chain; as well as increased
information sharing between all stakeholders.