“With over 60 free trade and investment agreements, Manitoba offers easy access to markets in North America and beyond,” said Ms. Mariette Mulaire, President and CEO, World Trade Center Winnipeg and Board Member, World Trade Centers Association, New York at the first programme of the Virtual Trade Dialogue Series on ‘Strengthening Trade Connections through Partnerships with Winnipeg, Canada and Trieste, Italy’ organised by World Trade Center Mumbai.

Speaking of business opportunities in Manitoba, Ms. Mulaire said Manitoba‘s abundance of land makes it lucrative for agriculture. It is also a source of clean energy and offers world-class research and innovation. It is home to advanced manufacturing and has the largest tri-modal inland port in North America.

With thousands of kilometers of hiking trails and 100,000 lakes and rivers, Manitoba is a place for Kayaking and Canoeing. It has over 40 public campgrounds and is known for the Bison Safari at FortWhyte Alive. Its winter attractions include polar bears, snow sculpture, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and Festival du Voyageur and the RAW: almond restaurant. It has a multi-cultural diaspora and is known for its entertainment industry.

Highlighting the promise that Trieste holds for international business, Ms. Andrea Garwood, Vice President and Board Member, World Trade Center Trieste and Board Member, World Trade Centers Association, New York said that Trieste is located in the middle of a multi-national area and is at the centre of global sea transport dynamics. It stands out for its high quality of life and environment with a high level of education, high income per head, employment, security, services and infrastructures. Many insurance firms were founded in Trieste, some of which have become leading companies in Europe today.

Ms. Garwood further said that the port of Trieste is a leader in Italy with 62 million tons, especially for containers traffic, mineral oils and coffee sectors. Trieste also confirms itself as the first railway port of Italy, with over 10,000 trains. The Free Port of Trieste permits warehousing, storing, examining, sorting, packing and repacking, manufacturing and industrial processing operations. There is no time limit on the storage of goods, no guarantees are requested when the goods are in the Free Port; there are no import duties, VAT or other import charges on non-EU goods, and the customs origin of goods can be maintained, as also payment of customs duties and fiscal border duties can be deferred by up to six months.

Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director, World Trade Center Mumbai highlighted the export potential of Maharashtra, suggesting that Maharashtra has 570 software technology and food parks, and has export promotion hubs in automotive and auto components, gems and jewellery, IT/ITeS, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and textiles sectors. Processed diamonds account for 31 per cent of Maharashtra’s exports. Potential exports from Maharashtra include Solapur blankets, Warli Painting, Kolhapuri footwear, Solapur Terry Towel, Nashik Valley Wine, Nashik Grapes, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Nagpur Orange, Onion, custard apple, raisins, turmeric, fig, pomegranate, mangoes, chickoo, Ajara Ghansal Rice and Kokum (Garcinia indica).

Ms. Naik opined that given their innovative capabilities, Winnipeg and Trieste should partner with Maharashtra, and therefore India, in Smart City Development.

The programme was attended by representatives from various World Trade Centers, industry, MSMEs and academia.