The 2nd Edition of Global Trade Facilitation Summit, themed “Trade Transformation and Technology” took place from 13-17th March 2023 at Dubai Chambers, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


The Global Trade Facilitation Summit 2023 “GTFS2023” was a unique opportunity for banks, trade finance professionals, traders, importers, exporters, lawyers, and business professionals to gain insights into trends, developments, legal and technical issues impacting global trade & finance. The summit was attended by 390 delegates from 37 countries, including 68 nationalities.

GTFS2023 got underway on Monday 13th with registration of delegates, internal committee meetings and business networking. The Annual Trade Law & Compliance Conference was organized by ICC UAE on Tuesday 14th March in partnership with the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice (IIBLP).  This was followed by two days of intensive plenary sessions comprising the central Summit, which culminated in a gala dinner on evening of Thursday 16th March at the Park Hyatt.  On the Friday the delegates were treated to an excursion to the Museum of the Future.

This summit held at a critical time delivered innovative solutions for the provision of much needed trade and supply chain finance to poorer emerging and developing markets.  The summit started with Introductory Remarks by Vincent O’Brien, Director of ICC UAE, Welcome Remarks by Mohammed Bin Sulaiman, Director of Business Relations in Dubai Chambers and Keynote Remarks by Adnan Anwar, Deputy CEO of National Bank of Fujairah. The Trade Facilitation Summit was driven by the agendas of the Multilateral Development Banks, including the private sector arm of the World Bank, the IFC, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

A focused session on “Africa – the last frontier!” was moderated by Marc Auboin of the WTO and included contributions from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank).  The significant role of Dubai Chambers in facilitating trade with Africa was highlighted by Khalid Mohamed Al Ali, Regional Director-Africa, Global Markets, Dubai Chambers. 

Nadia Abdul Aziz, Board Member of ICC UAE and Chair of the Custom & Trade Facilitation Commission of ICC UAE delivered a comprehensive presentation on the potentials of the UAE for Trade and Investment focusing on the role of UAE as a bridge to emerging markets.  She highlighted “the UAE is now a leading trade hub with the most comprehensive logistics gateway at the crossroads of trade to emerging markets”.

The expanding role of the UAE as a global trade finance hub was presented by Jamal Saleh, Director General of the UAE Banks Federation.  He highlighted the value proposition of working with ICC UAE.

Fatima Balfaqeeh, Board Member of ICC UAE and Vice Chair on the Commission on Arbitration highlighted the increasing role played by women in championing international business and trade.  Within a few short minutes she related the increasing importance of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in the region as well as the greatly increased role of women in pioneering these positive developments.

The summit was sponsored by National Bank of Fujairah and China Systems as Gold Sponsors, TradeAssets, Impel and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors, Trade Risk Consulting, National Bank of Umm Al Quwain, Habib Bank AG Zurich and Enigio as Bronze Sponsors. 

A highlight of the event was an expert addressed by Michel Howlett, CEO of Commercial Crime Services of the International Chamber of Commerce where he covered” Shipping Challenges in Turbulent Times”.  

The event was highly commended by participants from all corners of the World. During the grand finale Vincent O’Brien, Director of ICC UAE was honoured by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers when he was conferred with the accolade of “FICS – Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers by Mr. Kevin Shakesheff, President of the of the World-Wide institution of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.  Kevin said “This honour is to recognise the incredible contribution of Vincent to the Shipping and Trade Finance Industry in the Middle East”   Vincent replied “it not really me it is the teamwork and cooperation between champions in the industry”.

About ICC UAE:

ICC UAE is the national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce with an office in Dubai and international headquarters in Paris.

  • ICC UAE Commissions represent, support and protect business interests within the United Arab Emirates.
  • ICC UAE pushes forward policies and practices that expedite the expansion of trade and business within the UAE, the region and the world.
  • ICC UAE engages with the global network of the World Business Organisation in developing rules and standards that facilitate international trade and development.