60 Seconds with Guy Tozzoli, President of the World Trade Centers Association

Guy Tozzoli began his career in 1946 as an engineer for the Port Authority for NY and NJ. In 1970, he helped create the WTCA and, in 1997 and 1999, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

BF: What unique services can a World Trade Center offer to businesses?

GT: World Trade Centers (WTCs) support companies that want to grow internationally, whether they’re just beginning to look beyond their own region or are exploring ways to grow in foreign markets or find new suppliers. WTCs provide education, trade data, market research, company lists, business matchmaking services, trade shows trade missions, market entry programs—anything in support of trade.

What makes WTCs unique is that they work together. The network of WTCs is very strong and they work cooperatively. If a business in Pennsylvania needs information about Taiwan, the Philadelphia WTC can call the Taipei WTC and get answers. If a company in Istanbul is looking for a supplier, the WTC there can call their counterparts in Shanghai or Charleston or Bogota or Lagos to try and see if they can find what is needed.

BF: What emerging cities have the potential to become global trade hubs?

GT: There are many growing cities around the world. China has almost 100 cities with populations of a million or more. Even though things in the financial world are in turmoil right now, there is still tremendous growth in many regions.  In November, our WTCA General Assembly will take place in Dubai, an incredibly exciting city experiencing phenomenal growth. In fact, it is literally growing; they’re creating islands and adding more land to the city.

BF: How can international trade influence worldwide peace and stability?

GT: It is proven that international commercial relationships tie nations together through mutual economic interest and cultural exchange. Research also shows that the growing link between trade and the environment hugely impacts the economy. Nations that are open to a global economy are more open politically. Trade is a direct benefit of peace. The WTCA has a positive effect on the trade environment.

WTC executives spoke on activities that have had substantial impact in building and maintaining economic prosperity in key areas such as Kabul, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Korea, Mumbai and Stockholm.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, ongoing conflicts have dropped sharply since the early 1990s. We believe this is a direct result of global trade and the interdependence and interconnection that is the result of international business.

The WTCA In the UAE

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), a leading international, non-political, not-for-profit organization, is welcoming delegates from nearly 100 countries to its 39th Annual General Assembly in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from November 7th to 10th. Business delegates will engage in an open dialogue to discuss opportunities and help establish a mutually beneficial world trade environment. The four-day event includes seminars, briefings, guest speakers, business networking and tours.

The theme of the assembly is “Women as Leaders in International Business.” Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi, UAE minister of economy, will deliver the keynote speech. In November 2004, she became the first woman in UAE history to assume a cabinet position, and is the highest ranking female official in the Gulf States. Sheikha Lubna also is the CEO of Tejari, the Middle East’s premier electronic business-to-business marketplace.

“We are extremely excited to hold this year’s General Assembly in one of the most rapidly expanding countries,” says Guy F. Tozzoli, president of the WTCA. “The opportunities in Dubai are exceptional, and we look forward to helping foster trade relationships that continue to promote international business.”

The vice president of Afghanistan also plans to address the delegates.