World Trade Center Mumbai organised an interactive meeting with Mr. Robin Van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director - Business Development, World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), New York, Mr. Scott Wang, Vice President - Asia-Pacific, WTCA and Ms. Christina Shen, Principal, World Trade Center Shenyang. During the meeting, the WTCA officials discussed their proposed partnership with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and their vision to grow the ‘WTC’ brand in India.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Puyenbroeck remarked, "The global WTCA network, being one of the largest and most complex business networks with diverse ownership, can complement the WTO in promoting world trade by providing them inputs from private business."

Recognizing the role played by WTC Mumbai in the promotion of international trade in India and thereby generating goodwill and credibility for the brand, Mr. Puyenbroeckpointed out, "From being the first WTC in India, WTC Mumbai, with its unmatched holistic trade promotion services, has now emerged as an example for other WTCs across the nation to follow. The leadership role of WTC Mumbai was crucial for the promotion of the brand WTC in the country."

Identifying the potential for the expansion of the brand in India, he added, "Currently, we have 320 WTCs across the world. However, we believe that we have the potential to grow up to 500 WTCs. We have identified 70 tier 1 cities across the globe. Of which, we are in contact with 50 cities. India has emerged as the engine of growth for Asia. WTCA is exploring partnerships with other trade promotion organizations in the country to promote trade and investment. WTCA can be an active contributor to the success story of India. As a global business network, we are also keen on working with Indian government for promoting India as a global hub for trade and investment."

Admiring the spirit of India, Mr. Wang remarked, "India is our top market. It is a land of diverse culture, traditions, and celebrations. We are following a strategy of organic growth for the country, focusing on providing quality services, with quantity to follow. The key USP of the WTC brand is delivering quality services. With a focus on quality, setting a target of more than 100 WTCs in the country is possible. We are very much excited to be part of India’s great success story."

Expressing gratitude toWTC Mumbai for the successful conclusion of the Global Business Forum, he remarked, "For the WTC brand to be successful in the country, WTC Mumbai’s leadership is extremely vital. WTC Mumbai, with its quality trade promotion services, has emerged as the flagbearer for the brand in the country."

In his welcome address, Dr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai, proposed a three-tier classification of WTCs for the further expansion of the brand. He stated, "Considering the economic disparity across the globe, the WTCA may adopt a three-tier classification model – Small, Medium, and Large – to enhance regional inclusivity. This system will also encourage less-developed countries in Africa and Asia to join the brand. While India currently has 41 WTCs and expects to surpass 50 in the coming years, such an organizational structure will surely aid in achieving the target of 100 WTCs in the country by encouraging the establishment of WTCs in the less-developed regions of India. To ensure the credibility of the brand, a criteria-based licensing model may be adopted. WTC licenses may be approved based on certain capital thresholds, levels of trade promotion activity, etc."

Dr. Kalantri also advocated the establishment of a WTCA regional office in India, recognizing India as one of the fastest-growing markets for the brand. He assured all possible support to the association in this initiative.

He further remarked, "Communication within the organization is of utmost importance. A weekly or monthly newsletter may be circulated among all the WTCs across the world, updating them about the latest developments in the WTC network globally. This kind of initiative will aid knowledge sharing among WTCs and support future collaborations."

Addressing the meeting, Capt. Somesh Batra, Vice Chairman of WTC Mumbai, stated, "WTC Mumbai is fully committed to providing all necessary support to WTCs across India and the globe, with WTCA acting as a bridge for communication and coordination. WTCA may consider encouraging the participation of leading WTCs from around the world in global summits, such as the World Economic Forum, to provide them international exposure. WTCA should also work on ensuring a smooth flow of knowledge and communication between WTCs across regions."

He also emphasized the role the government can play as an enabler for WTCs in their mission of promoting cooperation and coordination among businesses globally.

The meeting was followed by signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between WTC Mumbai and WYC Shenyang (China) for mutual cooperation in promoting trade and investment between the two countries.

The meeting was also attended by Mr. Sharad Uapasani, Vice Chairman, World Trade Center Mumbai, Mr. Ajoykaant Ruia, Vice Chairman, World Trade Center Mumbai, Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, World Trade Center Mumbai, Ms. Christina Shen, Principal, World Trade Center Shenyang and other members of the Council of Management.

Mr. Scott Wang, Vice President - Asia-Pacific, WTCA,New York; Dr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, WTC Mumbai; and Mr. Robin Van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director - Business Development, WTCA

Dr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman WTC Mumbai (front row left) signing MoU with Ms. Christina Shen, Principal of World Trade Center Shenyang. Also seen in the photograph are (from left to right) Capt. Somesh Batra, Vice Chairman, WTC Mumbai; Mr. Scott Wang, Vice President - Asia-Pacific, WTCA; Mr. Robin Van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director - Business Development, WTCA; Capt. Ramesh Gulati, Member, Council of Management, WTC Mumbai; and Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, World Trade Center Mumbai