World Free Zone Conference to highlight supply chain challenges


World Free Zone Conference to highlight supply chain challenges

With supply chain issues dominating news headlines around the world, an upcoming conference in Jamaica aims to highlight how World Free Zones can help ease the issue as unique instruments in global trade. Centred around the theme “Zones: Your Partner for Resilience, Sustainability and Prosperity,” the World Free Zones Organization’s 8th Annual International Conference & Exhibition (AICE), being held in Montego Bay from June 13 through 17.

Free zones, also known as free economic zones or free economic territories, are a type of “Special Economic Zone” designated by governments to foster economic activity through favourable approaches to taxation and duties. Because free zones often make it easy to get a company up and running in a new country, they can facilitate the development of strong new supply chains.

“Tourism’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been very optimistic with record arrivals and earnings but it has not been linear as other issues have surfaced. The sector has been experiencing supply chain issues that can negatively impact our service delivery

and overall recovery and must be addressed. This conference will not only put Jamaica in the spotlight again but provide global minds who will present best practices and strategies on the way forward,” said Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett.

Panels Tackle Current and Emergent Issues

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AICE will feature a respected list of speakers from around the globe, including free zone practitioners, government representatives, business experts, policymakers, media and research specialists.

The topics that will be explored through panel discussions during the AICE are:
• Shaping the Future for Supply Chain Resilience
• Charting the Future of an Inclusive E-Commerce
• Building a New Generation of SDG/ESG Entities
• Reforming the Global Tax System
• How “Ecosystems of Trust” Drive Prosperity

This year’s staging of AICE is intended to highlight and advance work that will ensure that free zones around the world, and especially in the Caribbean and the Latin American region, transition as quickly as possible to a green economy. Jamaica, which has been chosen as the destination, is expected to “revive the spirit, excitement and optimism which the AICE has missed in the last two pandemic years”. Expected to attract upwards of 750 international visitors, the conference is also being closely watched as the first major post-pandemic conference to be held in Jamaica.

According to Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Honourable Aubyn Hill, conference attendees will leave with practical solutions that can bolster their free zone and other business operations through the current uncertain times. “The conference will provide a total experience – business and pleasure – with expert panel presentations, site visits to explore investment opportunities, an exhibition, and the chance to enjoy Jamaica’s world-renowned hospitality and culture.”

“As we near the opening of our 8th annual conference, we remain optimistic that the Free Zone industry is poised to come out of the pandemic stronger, wiser, more agile and better prepared for future disruptions. It’s a promising sign that so many of our colleagues will be traveling to Jamaica after two years of virtual events. We are grateful to our Jamaica partners who have taken this journey with us to bring our community back together. I firmly believe that the AICE is the perfect platform for bringing together key international decision makers, service providers and consultants to exchange knowledge, experiences, and best practices to drive our industry into the future,” said Dr. Samir Hamrouni, Chief Executive Officer, World Free Zones Organizations.

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