Press releases

World Export Development Forum 2017 to explore how trade and business can better benefit the 99%

28 February 2017
ITC News

(Geneva/Budapest) – The World Export Development Forum (WEDF), the flagship event of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), will be held in Budapest, Hungary, on 25-26 October 2017, hosted by Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

With a theme focused on ‘Trade – a Force for Good: Include, Innovate, Integrate’ the two-day event will explore how trade can be a driver of inclusive growth and job creation focusing on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

ITC and the Government of Hungary attach significant importance to the role of SMEs in contributing to trade-led growth and job creation. In Hungary, as in most other economies, SMEs form the backbone of the economy, representing over 90% of all business and contributing to two-thirds of global employment. Enabling more SMEs to connect to international markets will ensure that the gains from trade are more broadly distributed.

The agreement to host WEDF 2017 in Budapest was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó and Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, on 28 February 2017.

‘This is the first time an Eastern or Central European country will host WEDF and we believe Hungary will benefit greatly given the importance that trade has in our overall foreign policy. With the high-level intergovernmental and business-to-business meetings, the event will contribute to achieving Hungary's trade goals such as raising our export volume and diversifying our markets as we further strengthen trade and business linkages with Asia, Africa and Latin America,’ said Minister Szijjártó.

‘ITC is pleased that Hungary will be hosting this year’s WEDF,’ Ms. González said. ‘Hungary understands the importance of trade-led growth for job creation and the need to increase competitiveness through investing in SMEs. Hungary is a hub of creativity and innovation, backed by a highly-skilled workforce and is an example of how investment in trade can lead to development dividends.’

Up to 600 business leaders, policymakers and officials from trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) and international organizations are expected to attend the event. Convening business leaders and the global trade and development policymakers in Budapest will provide an excellent opportunity to put more trade in business and more business in trade.

WEDF 2017 will focus on current issues shaping global trade and business, from new regional trade routes such as China’s One Belt One Road initiative, to how innovation drives competitiveness. Participants will also explore how to best leverage the opportunities presented by more environment-friendly business models.

In addition to the policy discussions there will be a series of facilitated business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking meetings in which around 200 national and international companies will have the opportunity to find new business partners.

During WEDF 2017 a series of ‘How-To’ sessions will explore how entrepreneurs and investors can make a start-up go global; how to expand digital enterprises; how to scale up from agriculture to agribusiness; and how to turn waste into wealth by recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of their lifespans. In addition, it will feature a competition in which young entrepreneurs will pitch their sustainable trade business cases to impact investors.

WEDF Budapest will also see the launch of SheTrades Hungary, the national chapter of ITC’s global initiative to connect 1 million women to markets by 2020.

Previous editions of WEDF have been held in Colombo, Sri Lanka (2016), Doha, Qatar (2015), Kigali, Rwanda (2014), Jakarta, Indonesia (2012), Istanbul, Turkey (2011) and Chongqing, China (2010).

For more information on WEDF 2017, including the programme and registration, please visit

Notes for the editor

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Hungary is an open economy and particular emphasis is placed on encouraging foreign investment and facilitating external trade. In order to ensure the most efficient coordination, all institutions dealing with specific areas of economic diplomacy - trade development, investment promotion, export financing and insurance, Joint Economic Committees and the net of economic diplomats - are supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which considerably increases the speed of the decision-making processes. The major objective of the Hungarian diplomacy thus has been widened and Hungary now considers economic diplomacy and country promotion as a priority.

For more information, please contact:

International Trade Centre
Mr. Jarle Hetland
Media Officer
Office of the Executive Director
P: +41 22 730 0145
M:+ 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hungary

Mr. Norbert Péter DÖMÖTÖR
Media Officer
P: +36 1458 2068
E: Norbert.Domotor [at] (Norbert[dot]Domotor[at]mfa[dot]gov[dot]hu )