Curacao's PM leads delegation to World Free Zones Conference in Montego Bay

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - Prime Minister of Curacao, Gilmar Pisas is leading a delegation from the southern Caribbean country to the World Free Zones Organisation’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE) being hosted by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from Monday, June 13 to Friday, June 17.

The 22-member delegation, which arrives in the island on Monday, June 13, will include Curacao’s Minister of Finance, Javier Silvania, four parliamentarians and representatives of Curinde Free-Economic Zones and Industrial Park, which is taking steps to become internationally recognised as a facilitator of production and trade of high value goods and commercial services.

Prime Minister Pisas, who is a year into his role as Curacao’s leader of government, will address Tuesday’s opening ceremony, while Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness will deliver the keynote address, on the heels of signing the all-important agreement, establishing the Global Association of Special Economic Zones (GASEZ).

Senator Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce said he welcomes the opportunity to hold bilateral discussions with the members of the delegation from Curacao about trade and the development of free zones in both countries.

“We in Jamaica share common issues with Curacao as we are both small island states affected by similar issues, including those having to do with climate change. As a result, the free zone arrangements are being made at an opportune time, when the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is developing policies to bring all zones; free, manufacturing and knowledge under one body,” Hill said.

Meanwhile, CEO of the World Free Zones Organisation, Dr Samir Hamrouni, said the delegation being led by Prime Minister Pisas to Jamaica is a critical step for the country as they seek to increase economic cooperation between Jamaica and Curacao; and to gain Jamaica’s support for its free zone regime and adapt best practices from local free zone operations.

The visit by Pisas comes as world-renowned Jamaican hotel chain brand, Sandals expands its operations into Curacao, with the recent opening of the 351-room Sandals Royal Curacao.

Held each year, the World Free Zones Organisation’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition is dubbed the “must attend” event for free zones and associated entities, as it is an opportunity to build awareness among its members and prominent participants from across the globe.

Representatives from 60 countries have been arriving for the three-day conference in Montego Bay, which features world-class speakers, senior policymakers, academics, multilateral organisations and global business leaders.

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