Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Chairman of the World FZO, heads delegation of 20 Free Zones in Paris.
Dubai, UAE, April 01, 2019: The World Free Zones Organization (World FZO), lead by Chairman Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, along with 20 heads of major free trade zones (FTZs) from across the globe, met with the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade (TF-CIT) today in Paris, France, for a consultation on a Code of Conduct to make FTZs unattractive to criminal activities while preserving their competitiveness within the Global Value Chain.
The World FZO presented their Safe Zone management standard as a harmonized maturity model already aligned with the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) own SAFE Framework and with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. The TF-CIT outlined its own Code of Conduct for Clean Free Trade Zones to the World FZO and both parties agreed on ways to combine both models into a common code of conduct for safety and security in FTZs.
FTZs provide tax advantages and other regulatory exemptions to drive foreign direct investment into their host economies and boost trade facilitation. An estimated 2,200 FTZs that support approximately 70 million jobs currently play an important role in the economic development and prosperity of many countries around the world. These zones are increasingly involved in international supply chains and global value chains.
In recent decades, compliance management has successfully replaced individual transaction controls for many stakeholders in the international supply chain, starting with the introduction of standards by international institutions like the OECD, the WCO and the WTO. The key has been to encourage legitimate businesses to comply by making it easy for them to do so while making illicit trade very difficult to conduct within the same framework.
“As a global body committed to bringing free zones together into a platform for development, economic prosperity and socio-economic sustainability,” explained Dr. Mohammed Alzarooni, Chairman of the World FZO, “the World Free Zones Organization is helping to design transparency regulation and oversight rules that integrate smoothly into existing business practices in all free zones.”
The World FZO’s Safe Zone program offers a unique opportunity to integrate FTZs of the world into the existing framework for management and monitoring of international supply chains under a customized global standard. To that end, the TF-CIT will meet with the World FZO again after their Annual International Conference and Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain in June 2019 where the pilot phase of the Safe Zone program will be completed.