Free trade zones held their world meeting in Dubai

The World Organization of Free Zones concluded the ninth edition of the Annual International Conference and Exhibition of Free Zones (AICE), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with the participation of 987 Participants from 95 countries. The organization announced that Bari, Italy, would be the next host city for the tenth edition of AICE, after handing over the AICE flag to the Specialized Economic Zone, Adriatic Puglia.

His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, President of the World Free Zones Organization, chaired a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the 9th Conference (AICE 2023) in Dubai to discuss the role of governments in developing free zones and improving their performance in achieving their full economic potential.Las Zonas Francas y Dubai

The agenda of the meeting included a dialogue on the advanced role of free zones in the global economy and how they can better adapt to changing conditions and upcoming challenges to build a trusted system for prosperity and growth represented by free zones with the support of their governments.


The ministerial meeting was attended by 20 ministers from 18 countries, including His Excellency Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, His Excellency Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State of Qatar, His Excellency Victor Bisono, Minister of Industry of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Vahan Kerobyan, Minister of Economy of Armenia, His Excellency Javier Silvania, Minister of Finance of Curaçao and His Excellency Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica.

This year’s edition of AICE graduated 100 participants of the Free Zone Leadership Development Program, which aims to prepare, develop and enhance the leadership skills of participants, qualify them for leadership positions in free zones and manage strategic and development projects to anticipate the future. and prosperity of free zones.

Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zones Organization, confirmed, during a speech at the end of the conference, that the free zone sector is receiving increasing attention from government agencies and international organizations due to the effectiveness of its model operations and infrastructure in leading the economic recovery phase the world is witnessing after the Covid pandemic. His Excellency urged the importance of continuing constructive dialogue among all governmental parties, international organizations, and free trade zones to enhance an integrated trust system with its policies and incentives to achieve economic and investment returns for national economies and the global economy.


Al Zarooni said, “Since its establishment in 2014, the World Free Zones Organization has been instrumental in advancing free zones worldwide, their development, and representing their interests to international organizations and governmental bodies around the world. In particular, by enhancing channels for the exchange of experiences and exploring prospects for cooperation and operational and economic integration, generating greater employment opportunities, sustainable economic growth and high recovery of supply chains and global trade. The organization thus contributes to shaping the future of its free trade zones through our various qualitative initiatives.”

The President of the World Free Zones Organization added: “This year, the organization enjoyed its largest and most successful edition since the launch of the Annual International Conference and Exhibition with the participation of many international leaders and organizations, and we are grateful for the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, may God protect him. In this edition we appreciate the presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, who highlighted the importance of the organization’s mission and objectives in building a system of trust for growth and prosperity.

The 9th Annual International Free Zone Conference and Exhibition ended successfully as it recognized the contributions of its esteemed sponsors in Dubai. The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of “IFZA Dubai”, which acted as the title sponsor, along with other key sponsors such as the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZA), DP World, DIFC and Luanda Bengo SEZ. Dubai Chamber and Dubai Duty Free also sponsored the evening functions of the ninth conference, which added to the success of the event. It is a testament to the dedication and commitment of these sponsors that the conference and exhibition were able to showcase the latest developments and innovations in the free zone industry.

New Board of Directors

The General Assembly of the World Free Zone Organization elected new members to its board of directors, including Blanca Sorigué Borrell, Director General of the Barcelona Free Zone of the Kingdom of Spain, Claudia Pellerano – President of the Board of the Las Americas Industrial Free Zone of the Dominican Republic, Jeffrey J. Tafel – President of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (NAFTZ) of the USA, John Lucy, Director of Liverpool City Region of the United States and John Lucy, Director of Liverpool City Region of the United States, John Lucy, Director of Liverpool City Region Freeport of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Dr. Manuel Francisco Pedro, President of Luanda/Bingu Special Economic Zone Development Association of the Republic of Angola, and Badi Klibi, Executive Director of Bizerta Economic Activities Park of the Republic of Tunisia.

Today, the World Free Zone Organization includes more than 1,500 members from over 140 countries and has global representation through 12 regional offices around the world and 42 national contact points. The non-profit organization, registered in Geneva, Switzerland, has established its essential strategic role over the past decade, strengthening and expanding its membership base and providing comprehensive, diverse and quality services. The free trade zone approach confirmed its role as a strong driver of growth and prosperity in the global economy. The organization was at the heart of the development of this approach through its efforts to provide an environment that promotes innovation, investment and international trade, all of which contributed to the success of free zones around the world. By continuing to focus on key objectives and driving innovation strategies, the organization is uniquely positioned to support the development of free zones and shape the future of business worldwide.


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