- Business leaders, ministers and policymakers among over 500 delegates gathered to share latest trends and best practices under the theme ‘Trade – A Force for Good: Include, Innovate, Integrate’
- Hungary President János Áder to inaugurate key forum
- Minister Malik Samarawickrama to address first plenary today; EDB Chief tomorrow
- Global launch of WTO-UN joint agency International Trade Centre’s flagship report ‘SME Competitiveness Outlook 2017: The Region: a door to global trade’ today
By Nisthar Cassim in Budapest
The 2017 edition of the annual World Export Development Forum (WEDF) kicks off today in Budapest, Hungary under the theme ‘Trade – A Force for Good: Include, Innovate, Integrate’.
The event, which Sri Lanka hosted last year, brings together over 500 business leaders, ministers and other policymakers, heads of trade and investment support institutions, and leaders of international agencies to share the latest trends and best practices.
Co-hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, the forum will be ceremoniously opened by Hungary President János Áder.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó and ITC Executive Director Arancha González will also address the event.
According to ITC, this year’s event will explore how trade can be a force for good at a time when global challenges – economic, social and environmental – are changing the way trade works. ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.
Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama will address the first plenary session today focusing on how the 99% can better benefit from local, regional and global trade.
Titled ‘Making Trade Work for the 99%,’ the session will explore how trade can work for all with business leaders and policymakers looking at policy and practice to boost competitiveness, from infrastructure to connectivity, skills and innovation.
The panel featuring Minister Samarawickrama includes Li Yong, Director-General, UNIDO, Prof. Jaideep Prabhu, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework, WTO, Dr. Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary-General, Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
Malgorzata Wadzinska Global Government Relations and Public Policy, Central Europe/Balkans/Turkey/Caucasus, Procter and Gamble, Poland, and Gabor Zsamboki, CEO and General Manager, ANY Security Printing, Hungary is also included.
The WEDF 2017 will also discuss how the benefits of trade can be shared more equitably. Specifically it will look at new regional trade routes such as the One Belt, One Road Initiative and similar channels in Africa and Latin America. This high-level public-private dialogue will look at opportunities for SMEs in regional trade routes. It also features the international launch of the SME Competitiveness Outlook 2017 by Marion Jansen, ITC Chief Economist and the launch of ITC’s flagship report ‘SME Competitiveness Outlook 2017: The Region: A Door to Global Trade’.
On the second day Sri Lanka Export Development Board Chairperson and Chief Executive Indira Malwatte will speak at a plenary session titled ‘Innovation for Trade Competitiveness,’ looking at how innovative approaches to competitiveness when business and public policies are aligned.
Other speakers in this session include Roberto dos Reis Alvarez, Executive Director, Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, USA, Gustavo Lascurain, Managing Director, Pasaban, Spain, Fu Xiaolan, Director, Technology and Management Centre for Development, and Professor of Technology and International Development, Oxford University, Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Development Bank and Zoltán Urbán, CEO, Export Import Bank, Hungary.
WEDF 2017 will also focus expanding digital trade (e-commerce) and the overall importance of innovation in becoming competitive; ‘green’ business and turning waste into wealth and how to move from agriculture to agribusiness and how to grow from a start-up to a successful international business.
In addition to policy discussions and practical workshops, WEDF will facilitate business-to-business (B2B) meetings with a focus on agricultural technologies, agricultural crops and oil seeds will give national and international companies the opportunity to network and make deals.
Innovative solutions for the agro-sector will be pitched by finalists of a young entrepreneurs’ competition selected in partnership with the Accelerate 2030 Initiative and Design Terminal, a Hungarian incubator.
WEDF is part of ITC broader objective of assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development.