Earlier this month, NAFTZ became a founding member of the United Nations Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones (GASEZ). Hosted by UNCTAD – the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), GASEZ seeks to make GASEZ a global platform to catalyze partnerships and bring on board more stakeholders, including governments, the private sector and international organizations.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said: “The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides an opportunity for special economic zones to attract investment by putting SDGs at the forefront of their value proposition. A new model of sustainable special economic zones is therefore rapidly taking shape and they are contributing to more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable economies in the countries where they operate.”
NAFTZ’s participation will help American Foreign-Trade Zones grow awareness of global trends in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) as member organizations pool the resources, experience, and commitment of the United Nations and global, regional, and national organizations to support SEZs in contributing to resilient, inclusive development. The core functions of GASEZ are:
SEZs are faced with new challenges and opportunities that require them to adapt and innovate. Some challenges are related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with new lockdown measures in some parts of the world or disruptions due to the war in Ukraine. Other challenges and opportunities are longer term, stemming from changing global value chains, including reshoring and nearshoring, and increased digitalization and investments in digital assets. In addition, ongoing global corporate tax reforms require governments to re-evaluate their fiscal tools and incentives, which SEZs have traditionally relied on.
The alliance’s founding members include the Africa Economic Zones Organization, the Free Trade Zones Association of the Americas, the Green Partnership for Industrial Parks in China, the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation, the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones of the United States of America, the World Free and Special Economic Zones Federation, the World Free Zones Organization and UNCTAD.
The signing ceremony for the establishment of the Global Alliance on Special Economic Zones (GASEZ) took place on the first day of the annual conference of the WFZO annual conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
NAFTZ is honored to join this initiative and looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership within the framework of the GAZES initiative. For more information on GASEZ:
Jeffrey J. Tafel, CAE