World FZO 1st Annual International Conference and Exhibition

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The World FZO 1st Annual International Conference and Exhibition, held under the theme of "Free Zone Outlook International Conference" was the first event of its kind dedicated to free zones. The conference brought together global free zone practitioners, academics, policy makers, multi-lateral organizations and business and featured key note speakers and panelists from each.

Event Overview

The World FZO First Annual International Conference and Exhibition this year focused on the theme ‘Towards a New Global Trade Order’. The three day event featured over 40 speakers across 20 sessions, panels and interactive workshops.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the International Conference with H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and H.E. Sultan Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy. The World FZO was also honored to welcome His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation who officially inaugurated the 2015 exhibition.

A number of key themes emerged from the range of topics discussed: the economic benefits of trade, the importance of innovation and leadership, the opportunity for growth in emerging markets and the potential to attract more small and medium enterprises and startups to free zones.

Keynote Speakers

  • Robert Koopman, Chief Economist and Director of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics at Columbia University;
  • His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Port, Customs, Free Zone Corporation and Chairman DP World
  • Goazhang Zhu, Director of Compliance and Facilitation, World Customs Organization (WCO).

The Event in Numbers

The World FZO 1st Annual International Conference and Exhibition featured 46 speakers partners and moderators, attracting 675 attendees from 76 countries, representing 92 free zones (of which 50 were voting members of the World FZO).

Other Notable Speakers and Panelists

  • Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni, Chairman, World Free Zones Organization
  • Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA
  • Jan Frantz, Executive Director for the BC/CAL/KAL Inland Port Development Corporation and Chairman of the Board National Association of Free Trade Zones (NAFTZ), USA
  • Martin Ibarra, Honorary President of the Free Zones Association of the Americas, Colombia
  • Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Free Zone, Ireland
  • P.C. Nambiar, Chairman of the Indian Council for Special Economic Zones, India


Title Sponsor

  • Investment Corporation of Dubai

Diamond Sponsors

  • Emirates Airlines
  • Dubai World Central (DWC)
  • DP World
  • Jebel Ali Free ZOne (JAFZA)

Gold Sponsors

  • Wasl
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority
  • Dubai Convention and Events Bureau
  • Dubai Chamber

Silver Sponsor

  • Airbus Group

Bronze Sponsor

  • Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)


  • Ajman Free Zone
  • Government of Ras Al Khaimah - RAK Investment Authority
  • Guiddoo
  • United Nations - UNCTAD
  • KPMG
  • Dubai Duty Free
  • Dubai Exports - Department of Economic Development (Government of Dubai)

Knowledge Partners

  • United Nations - UNCTAD
  • United Nations - Industrial Development Organization
  • Université de Reims, Champagne-Ardenne

Media Partners

  • fDI Magazine