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Free Zone Monitor

Slovakia moves into FDI fast lane

07 April 2015


April 7, 2015 – Dubai, UAE: The World Free Zones Organization (World FZO), the multi-lateral non-profit, global association for free zones, has announced the dates for its first annual conference – "Free Zone Outlook International" – which will be held on May 11-13 2015, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Dubai.

​The conference, which focuses on the theme, "Towards a New Global Trade Order", will bring together senior policy makers, academics, global business leaders as well as representatives of free zones and multi-laterals from around the world. Speakers and panelists include Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni, Chairman, World Free Zones Organization; Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA; Jan Frantz, Executive Director for the BC/CAL/KAL Inland Port Development Corporation and Chairman of the Board National Association of Free Trade Zones (NAFTZ), USA; Martin Ibarra, Honorary President of the Free Zones Association of the Americas, Colombia; Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Free Zone, Ireland; and P.C. Nambiar, Chairman of the Indian Council for Special Economic Zones, India.

The conference will provide high-level networking opportunities for delegates and World FZO members, as well as the opportunity for the latter to attend the World FZO's General Assembly. Launched in May 2014, the World FZO aims to share best practice and foster public awareness of the role and contribution to economic growth that free zones can make. Commenting on the forthcoming event, the World FZO Chairman Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni said: "This is the first time that representatives from hundreds of free zones from around the world will have the opportunity to meet each other and share their experiences. It's a chance for members to learn more about how the free zone model can positively impact socio-economic change by encouraging infrastructure investment, as well as enabling job and wealth creation."

Free Zone Outlook International will feature various panel discussions and debates, and explore how the fragmentation of global supply chains are impacting global trade. It will also look at how competitive advantage in this new market context is derived from a country's ability to attract international business through fiscal incentives and the availability of supporting infrastructure. The full conference program is available on the World FZO website: World FZO CEO, Dr. Samir Hamrouni, said: "Given changing global trade dynamics, countries are having to introduce new strategies to remain competitive. Free zones often form part of the approach, affording flexibility to governments and a bridge to enhanced future trade and capital inflows without the need for radical changes to domestic regulations and legal frameworks. Free Zone Outlook International will look at some of the most effective free zone strategies for achieving such results."

In addition to the conference, the World FZO, which launched in May 2014 and now has over 155 members, with an exciting program scheduled for 2015. This includes a series of member networking events as well as the publication of a number of industry reports from the World FZO Observatory. This dedicated research division aims to build a comprehensive knowledge base and atlas on the estimated 3,500 free zones that exist globally to help inform international economic and trade policies.

The Observatory will also provide free zones with comparative data and relevant insights to help them devise the most effective strategies. The World FZO represents the interests of free zones globally and members benefit from a range of additional services as well, including: operational support and advice; access to industry statistics, analysis and insight from experts; training; networking opportunities and access to the World FZO Business Directory.