The 2017 Free Zones World Congress is held in Cartagena de Indias

In 2017, Cartagena de Indias became the first Latin American city to host the third edition of the World Free Zones Congress.

The event, which was held from May 3 to 5, 2017 at the imposing Cartagena Convention Center, brought together more than 1,000 specialized assistants, more than 300 free zone representatives globally, more than 40 panelists and more than 30 exhibitors, in addition to investment funds, academies, multilateral entities and businessmen from around the world, according to the Convention Center itself on its website.

Likewise, as the newspaper Portafolio pointed out, around 70 countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, China, Spain, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Mexico, Panama, Brazil and Uruguay, were directly represented.

This congress, which was born in May 2014 in Geneva (Switzerland), is an initiative of the International World Free Zones Organization and is the most important for the issue of free zones.

The objective of the congress is the exchange of knowledge, networking and business development through the participation of the free trade union, as well as government organizations, user companies and multilateral entities.

In its third edition, held in Cartagena, the World Congress of Free Zones was also a space to address issues of interest to investors who promote projects in all sectors, such as manufacturing, telecommunications services, agribusiness, shared services BPO and KPO, among others, according to information published by the National Association of Entrepreneurs of Colombia (ANDI) on its official website.

The importance of celebrating an event of this magnitude was enormous for the country, since the free zones are one of the most modern mechanisms that the country has in the economic sphere, generating investments for more than 50 billion pesos in the last 10 years, as ANDI states.

Likewise, Bruce Mac Master, president of the ANDI, assured the magazine Dinero that the election of Colombia as host country was an occasion to attract new investments, development and employment for the country, as well as “a great opportunity to present the possibilities of installing new companies and businesses through free zones ”.

In fact, the 2017 Free Zones World Congress concluded with a recognition of the advantages that free zones have in Colombia and in the world to attract investment and encourage the creation of companies.

As Caracol Radio reported, the closing ceremony was attended by Mohammed Alzarooni, president of the World Free Zones Organization; Bruce Mac Master, president of ANDI; Santiago Rojas, who then served as director of the DIAN; and Nivea Santarelli, at that time president of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Users of Free Zones of ANDI.

The closure was a perfect occasion to highlight the good organization of the congress, which demonstrates the ability of the ‘Heroic’ and the country to receive events of the greatest importance for regional and global economic development.