• Economics

Juan Torrents: «A Special Economic Zone is above all a social project»

14 November 2019 - 15h12

Since yesterday and until tomorrow, the Crystal Room of the Fairmont Hotel hosts the first edition of the Su-MEET. Organized by the World Free and Special Zones Federation (FEMOZA), this event brings together actors from Special Economic Zones (SEZ) as well as investors and national authorities. 

During two days, the first global Su-MEET of the Free and Special Economic Zones offers a variety of activities. Round tables and B2B and B2G are organised. With the common theme: the past, the present and the future of these economic spaces with special status. “This event is an opportunity for all professionals of the domain to exchange their knowledge and experience,” said Juan Torrents, President of FEMOZA and at the initiative of the meeting. The objective is simple: “Make SEZ known and remind people that this is not tax evasion.” These spaces have more liberal laws and therefore more advantageous for businesses than those in force in the rest of a country. Juan Torrents insists: “The problem of any government is employment creation. With the SEZ, we allow the arrival of investors, who themselves will allow the creation of infrastructure.” Also a  way to retain the local labour force and to avoid the rural exodus. 

15 000 employment created through SEZ

At the Fairmont, the Su-MEET brings together directors of SEZ with 15 years of experience, as well as national authorities and project developers. “There are also investors who can come and find out where to put their money,” says Torrents. This summit takes place during the 20th year of FEMOZA’s existence. The Swiss-based not-for-profit NGO will therefore benefit from the Su-MEET to award various players in the SEZ. Among the winners, the Katowice SEZ in Poland. “We did some great projects and in Poland we created 15,000 jobs.” Without this advantageous economic space, Katowice would not have had this attractiveness in the eyes of investors and Juan Torrents makes an example of it. “An SEZ is first and foremost a social project. It generates employment, but it helps the entire industry of a country and perfects the system.” 

The need for a world summit

Juan Torrents has worked in this domain for nearly 40 years. Led to intervene at various trade fairs by his status as president of FEMOZA, he felt the need to organize an event that brings together the world’s professionals. “Initially, we favoured Geneva as a destination, Juan Torrents said. But it was a bit complicated with the World Investment Forum, scheduled in November every two year.” The Spaniard finally choose Monaco. “The Principality is a true financial centre and we can also find the neutrality we can have in Switzerland.” And when we ask him if he wants to perpetuate this event, he expresses his willingness to make it bi-annual. Juan Torrents even plans to organize small regional events during the years without a summit. Within the next two weeks, FEMOZA will be launching a website that will reference the nearly 2,000 SEZ around the world. A major project that will provide an important data bank for all interested investors and stakeholders.

Audrey Corminboeuf


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