Time for trade transformation

Hassan Al Hashemi
Hassan Al Hashemi

The current membership of the ICC is now coming close to 45 million members.

By Hassan Al Hashemi

Published: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 2:53 AM

Last updated: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 2:59 AM

The International Chamber of Commerce (The ICC), the world business organization has a global network operating in more than 130 countries. ICC Trade Facilitation Rules provide the solid foundations to support international trade transactions valued at trillions of dollars by underpinning contractual obligations and payment security across the globe.

The ICC mission is to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere and when it comes to international business, the ICC is the ultimate connector. Business can only flourish within a truly connected ecosystem.

ICC rules are being used on a daily basis in the largest of the large nations and at the same time, in the smallest of the small nations. The ICC is truly a global network of connectivity and collaboration for trading partners. The current membership of the ICC is now coming close to 45 million members, comprising of associations, corporations, inter-governmental organisations, multinationals, SMEs, and independent professionals.

Expo 2020 Dubai

The ambitions and hopes of ICC global members are fully aligned with Expo Dubai’s main theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. In a world emerging from a global pandemic the role of connecting people from all corners of the world is now more important than ever. Connections build bridges between people and in turn facilitate trade, investment, and business. We have seen again and again that enabling business secures peace, prosperity, and opportunity for all – key aspirations of the ICC.

The Expo Dubai sub-theme of “Sustainability” is a top priority which the ICC sees as a vital objective. Sustainability is no longer a luxury business aspiration. It must now be a core driver of trade, investment, and business growth in the 21st Century and beyond. At the ICC we are using our unique expertise in developing rules and standards to better define responsible business practices which will ensure that every business model has sustainability and inclusivity at its very core.

I believe sustainability not only relates to preserving the environment and protecting the Earth’s resources for future generations. It is fundamental in promoting economic prosperity, human rights, social equality, cultural awareness, and peace for all humankind.

Dubai and the UAE has sustainability, inclusivity, and connectivity at heart and together we have evolved as the leading hub for connecting international business. Air connections move passengers and freight to more than 250 cities around the world. Shipping lines carry cargo to more than 400 city ports across the globe. The challenge is now to transform trade by taking the role of ICC as the global trade connector to the next level.

Here at ICC UAE, we know that we cannot do this alone so we must join hands with other global stakeholders who have a common mission, focus and determination to strive with us to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere.

We will only truly achieve collective success in international trade by reaching out to our current and potential trading partners, re-opening trade routes, and sharing expertise. We need to prioritise and identify new high potential markets which can accelerate further growth. Trade and the application of smart technology, along with associated services, as promoted by the ICC are now primary drivers of the UAE economy. This momentum will not just continue but will accelerate. Indeed, with the increase in Dubai exports of 45 per cent in the first half of 2021 we are clearly on track.

New opportunities

This momentum has been enhanced in recent days with the UAE becoming a full member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its 72nd shareholder. This positive development will open up new investment opportunities across the Bank’s regions which already include Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt with sights on opening up trade facilitation corridors into Sub-Saharan Africa.

ICC UAE is planning the largest gathering of stakeholders in trade facilitation for the Global Trade Facilitation Forum “Connecting the Trade World, Shaping the Future” planned for March 2021 to align with the lead up to the grand finale of Expo.

The power of the UAE to connect continents, people and create prosperity has been demonstrated during the opening ceremony of Expo, where performers and visitors from more than 190 countries participated in harmony with hope and positive collective aspirations for the future.

The writer is Secretary-general of International Chamber of Commerce, United Arab Emirates, (ICC-UAE). Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the publication’s policy.

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