World Export Development Forum 2016 to tackle pressing topics in regional and global trade

Daily FT

22/08/2016

World Export Development Forum 2016 to tackle pressing topics in regional and global trade

The 16th edition of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) will see global business leaders, policy makers and heads of trade discuss issues ranging from transitioning trade environments, transparency and traceability to business strategies and trade policies across the world.

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB) together with the International Trade Centre (ITC) announced the finalised agenda of the two-day conference themed ‘Trade for Success: Connect, Compete, Change’, scheduled to be held on 12 and 13 October.

This year’s event will stage four key plenary sessions, with the opening plenary session taking on the timely topic When Regional Blocs Cross Oceans, discussing the significance of driving global connectivity through improved and well-governed trade facilitation. The second session takes on the competitiveness of today’s digital economy by discussing the topic Digital Doors to Trade.

Day two will present a plenary session on Standards: A Gateway to Global Markets, focusing on changing consumer mindsets and standards required to regulate resulting dynamic supply chains. The final plenary session touches base on tourism, one of the biggest potentials in export investment and development, focusing on Authenticity: The New Tourism Destination.

The plenary sessions act as catalysts for the WEDF Forums across the years, enabling discussions on pressings as well as trending trade policies, and industry changing plans and decisions.

This year’s sessions are setting benchmark standards by bringing together influential thought leaders from both business and government sectors, including Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat – Patricia Scotland, Tony Nash – CEO and Chief Economist of Complete Intelligence from Singapore, Mahesh Amalean – Chairman of MAS Holdings, Brian Pallas – Chairman and Founder of Opportunity Network from Italy, Lanre Akinola – Editor of Africa Business from UK,  Hiran Cooray – Chairman of Jetwing Group from Sri Lanka, Mano Sekaram – CEO and Co-Founder of 99X Technology and more.

The first day of the conference will also present two ‘In-focus’ sessions, offering the audience valuable insight into practical business cases, and will be presented by highly successful business entrepreneurs in the region. The first session will discuss Trade Facilitation and Logistics in Regional Integration, while the second will focus on how Young Entrepreneurs Enable Innovation.

Day two of the conference will host ‘How-to’ workshops, slated to take on timely and beneficial trade topics for SMEs. The sessions are categorised across the main focus groups, Young Entrepreneurs – From Ideas to Markets for the millennials that are venturing out on their own, Services for Women Entrepreneurs targeted at the growing number of females who are exploring new business avenues, a workshop on How to go Digital focusing on the importance of digital marketing and awareness for new businesses, and Managing Logistics in the Supply Chain for efficient and lean business processes. These sessions will be presented by ITC’s very own trade experts.

The highlight of the two-day forum however, remains to be the dedicated Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings for registered companies, set to expedite business opportunities and partnerships across borders. These B2B meetings between high potential buyers/sellers will cater to sectors such as tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), apparel and most importantly manufacturing, with the country currently heavily focused on investment in manufacturing for export.

“Trade policies and strategies across the world need to change in order to meet new business realities, and this is why WEDF 2016 sessions will focus on some of the most critical issues we are facing today,” commented SLEDB Chairperson Indira Malwatte. “We are encouraged by the fact that this October, we will bear witness to some game-changing breakthroughs in international trade, along with some promising business partnerships, which will also result in the continued revival of our local economy.”

The full agenda for the conference can be found at http://www.wedf.edb.gov.lk/index.php/about/aboutforum