12-13 October 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The 16th edition of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, helps businesses to navigate the new trade and development landscape.
WEDF is a unique global conference and business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking platform dedicated to supporting trade-led development.
As the flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC), WEDF brings together over 600 business leaders, policymakers, heads of trade and investment support institutions and international trade development officials to address international competitiveness for developing countries.
This 16th edition of WEDF is co-hosted by ITC and the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka, through the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB).
ITC is the only United Nations organization focusing exclusively on small and medium-sized businesses, which are now recognized as a cornerstone for development by the United Nations as well as by the G7 and the G20.
ITC helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow and compete internationally, building on business opportunities.
Sri Lanka, a hub for South Asia
With an average GDP growth of 6.7% over the past several years, Sri Lanka offers new trade and investment opportunities at a strategic location at the crossroads of important maritime routes of the Indian Ocean.
The high-performing economy is underpinned by a skilled, educated workforce. Many multinationals have a home in Sri Lanka.
Over 80% of Sri Lankan businesses are SMEs. They feature prominently in Sri Lanka’s economic blueprint, which sets out ambitious goals to create one million new jobs through wider participation in the global economy
EDB is the key agency that promotes linkages between Sri Lankan businesses and international markets and partners.
Why attend WEDF 2016?
WEDF 2016 is designed for decision makers that drive business innovation and internationalization.
Meet us in Sri Lanka for high-level panel discussions, practical workshops and B2B meetings to:
- Get the latest on consumer trends, business strategies and trade policies to navigate today’s trade environment;
- Connect with experts on trade issues such as standards, trade facilitation and logistics;
- Find solutions to overcome key trade barriers and increase competitiveness;
- Sign new business deals with partners from Sri Lanka and around the world.
New realities for international business
The consumers of tomorrow are shifting.
By 2030, two thirds of the middle class will be in Asia, 14% in Europe, and 7% in North America, according to the Brookings Institution. Africa, too, is changing fast. The African Development Bank reports that Africa now has the fastest-growing middle class, with almost 35% of Africa’s population. This is double what it was less than 20 years ago.
As a result, trade patterns continue to change. There are growing transactions within and between the South, such as between Asia and East Africa, and Latin America or between African countries themselves. This trade will continue to be anchored within regional and international value chains.
The nature of the consumer is also transforming. Consumers increasingly emphasize quality, standards and labour and human rights in their purchases of goods and services. There is greater attention on transparency and traceability within value chains. The way that consumers purchase and consume goods and services is also changing, with technological innovations and falling transportation costs.
The economic power of women and youth has yet to be tapped. This ‘third billion’ of women, including entrepreneurs and young consumers, are becoming viable economic actors in the new business reality.
Trade and business policies must transform to meet these new realities. The continued dispersal of production, a focus on reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, and the implications of private standards will dominate the trade topography. The balancing act between the multilateral trading system and megaregional trade agreements will also define the landscape.
As megaregional agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership emerge, the voice of business is essential to shape competitiveness strategies. Trade facilitation and logistics remain key drivers of improved connectivity.
Digital technologies are reshaping how we trade, opening up new opportunities to compete in the global economy.
Entreprises can reach new consumers around the world directly, and integrate more quickly and higher up the value chain, thanks to e-commerce and technologies such as 3D printing.
Standards have become a gateway for businesses to enter international markets. Certification of standards and regulations may include technical specifications required by producers in the supply chain or health, social or environmental standards demanded by consumers or governments.
Talk Business, Do Business
B2B meetings will be facilitated in the following sectors: Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs); tourism; specialty food, including tea and spices; processed food; apparel; rubber and manufacturing.
At WEDF 2015, organizations signed declarations of intent valued at US$ 80 million.