The 16th edition of the prestigious World Export Development Forum (WEDF) taking place on the 12 and 13 October 2016 in Colombo is drawing in a significant number of international trade and business leaders to the country.
This announcement was made by State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe, during a press conference in Colombo on 6 October. State Secretary Anura de Silva, Chairperson and Chief Executive of Sri Lanka Export Development Board Indira Malwatte and the Steering Committee members of WEDF, comprised of both public and private institutions, participated at the press conference.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) together with the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka, through the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), is organising the two-day global conference.
A highlight of the global export industry calendar, the illustrious forum expects to attract 400 international delegates including renowned international speakers, trade experts and close to 300 local business leaders and entrepreneurs, making the event an unprecedented landmark for the export industry of the country.
WEDF 2016, with the theme ‘Trade for Success: Connect, Compete, Change’, is a forum for discussing business, high-level policy, trade integration and solving concrete issues affecting private sector competitiveness. This year’s event will stage four key plenary sessions addressed by world renowned speakers, two ‘In-focus’ sessions, offering the audience valuable insight into practical business cases, and will be presented by highly successful entrepreneurs in the region.
The two-day summit will focus on current issues shaping export competitiveness in the region and across the globe, the new trade and development landscape and strategic trade success. It is a networking event that promotes the potential for establishing new, long-standing trade relationships between countries for a strong export economy in the immediate future. Entrepreneurs and founders of start-ups can connect with experts as they impart trade secrets and present practical workshops.
A highlight of the global export industry calendar, the forum is being graced by Secretary General of The Commonwealth Secretariat H. E. Patricia Scotland, Pakistan Minister of Commerce Khurran Dastgir Khan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Deputy State Secretary for Foreign Economic Affairs Dr. Petra Pana, China Ministry of Commerce Wang Shouwen, ITC Switzerland Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez and European Commission Chief Trade Economist Dr. Lucian Cernat - among many others - where they will address challenges in international trade and solutions to overcoming them.
Among the global business leaders who will be participating at the summit is Amata Corporation CEO Vikrom Kromadit, Thailand’s biggest industrial-park developer and eBay Inc. Greater Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Vice President Eben Sermon and Alibaba Group VP and Chief Investment Officer Gao Hongbing. The total number of registered foreign participants has well exceeded the expected 350.
WEDF 2016 is also a dedicated platform to expedite business opportunities and partnerships with dedicated business-to-business (B2B) meetings, capitalising on local trade potential. 136 Sri Lankan companies and 116 foreign buyers have registered for these B2B sessions in sectors ranging from information and communications technology (ICT), tourism, specialty foods (including tea and spices), food and beverages, apparel, rubber and manufacturing. For Sri Lankan businesses, these sessions offer the possibility of new customers and contracts; for international buyers, they offer a chance to discover cutting-edge suppliers of quality goods and services.
A mini-exhibition to showcase the best Sri Lankan export products will also be held parallel to the exhibition. The exhibitors will also get the opportunity to display their products to the international buyers attending the forum.
Visiting international trade delegations can explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka while discovering Sri Lanka’s potential to be a regional business hub by participating in field visits, guided factory visits and other programs that would run complementary to the event.
DFCC Bank PLC – the Exclusive Banking Partner for the event, and Brandix – the Exclusive Apparel Partner are Platinum Sponsors along with Sri Lanka Tourism. Expolanka Holdings and Link Natural Products will be Gold Sponsors with Nestlé Lanka PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC and CIC Holdings joining hands as Silver Sponsors. The country’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines is on-board as the official Airline of the event. EWIS Information Systems takes on the role of IT Partner and Lanka Hospitals as the Official Health Care Provider of the two-day conference. Wijeya Newspapers and MTV/MBC are stepping in as the Preferred Local Print and Digital Media Partners and Laksala as the Giftware Partner.