AICE 2023 to take place in Dubai

The World Organisation of Free Zones has announced that the Emirate of Dubai will host the ninth edition of the Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE) in 2023. This was confirmed during the General Assembly meeting at this year’s AICE in Montego Bay, St James, Jamaica.

His Excellency Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zone Organisation, accompanied by His Excellency Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Jamaica’s Minister of Economy and Industry, as well as Ministers of the Caribbean Island States, inaugurated the eighth conference. This year’s AICE featured more than 1,000 speakers, policymakers, academics, representatives of multilateral organisations and global corporate executives from more than 100 countries.

Delivering the keynote address at the conference, His Excellency Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni said: “Since its inception in 2014, the World Free Zones Organisation has played a key role in strengthening, developing and achieving the growth of free zones around the world. We aim to create international platforms for organisations to interact, share experiences and explore potential cooperation. This will create new opportunities and achieve sustainable growth of the sector regionally and globally. We remain committed to supporting our members in identifying their current and future challenges, as well as finding ways to develop innovative models that will shape the future of free zones.”

“Free zones have proven their resilience by adapting to digital innovation, which is driving a significant resurgence and growth in the sector, especially in the post-pandemic phase. Their flexibility in adapting to the changing business environment has enabled them to adopt the latest technologies and advancements, including Blockchain, 3D printing, Metaverse and many other innovative areas. This has positioned them as pioneers in facilitating trade and building bridges between different markets. It has also strengthened their position as leading organisations in delivering cost savings and efficient operations to their customers, leading to sustainable development and preparing them for a prosperous future.” added His Excellency.

His Excellency also stressed the importance of continued business focus on e-commerce. It plays a key role in the supply and commercial transactions between companies. Sales of B2B e-commerce sites are projected to reach almost $1.77 trillion in 2022, an increase of 12% over 2021. E-commerce sales are also expected to reach $5 trillion in 2022 and $6 trillion by 2024. His Excellency stressed the importance of developing incentives for services and packages delivered in collaboration with public and private entities so that the e-commerce sector can increase the flow of investment.

During AICE, the World FZO also announced the launch of the Global Alliance for Special Economic Zones (GASEZ) conference. The alliance aims to address the most important and emerging issues related to special economic zones and to highlight the role of partnerships in ensuring the sharing of experiences in the post-pandemic recovery phase. The Alliance also seeks to develop global partnerships to facilitate cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation in trade and investment.

The four-day event includes five panel discussions on shaping the future of supply chain resilience to withstand future shocks, creating a new generation of businesses committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and adhering to environmental, social and governance principles. Discussions also include reform of the global tax system and the role of building an ecosystem of trust for economic benefits and prosperity.

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