Barcelona wins bid for Mediterranean HQ of free zones

Consortium will organize the World Free Zone Conference

The World Free Zone Organization (WFZO) has chosen Barcelona for its Mediterranean office, and confirmed that the Consortium of the Zona Franca of Barcelona (CZFB) will be the host of the 5th World Free Zone Conference, known internationally as the World FZO Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE), according to a release by the Consortium on Monday.

This conference will be held together with the International Logistics Salon in June 2019, and will mean the arrival in Barcelona of more than one thousand delegates from free zones, according to a statement from the CZFB. The release stressed that the free zone sector "will gain prominence", especially after the naming of Jordi Cornet, Special Spanish Delegate in the CZFB, as president of the Spanish Free Zone Association.

Mohammed al-Zarooni, President of the Board of the World Free Zone Organization, highlighted the continuing growth of the WFZO and its usefulness as an international platform for innovation and sustainability that "demonstrates the key role of free zones in world commerce, and their contribution to socioeconomic development".

The WFZO brings together 350 free zones in 78 countries. According to this organization, there are some 3,500 free zones in 130 countries around the world, representing more than 70 million jobs, which is equivalent to approximately 1% of the registered global work force.

For his part, Cornet noted the convenience of maintaining the prominence of Barcelona in the economy "as an open, integrative, and cosmopolitan city". He added that the experience of the CZFB in hosting international fairs and conferences, together with Spain's prestige as a world logistics platform and the attractiveness of Barcelona as capital of the Mediterranean, were determining factors in attracting the conference.

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