“The recent depreciation in Indian rupee against dollar is less than the depreciation seen in the currencies of other advanced and emerging markets, such as UK, Japan, South Korea and China. The better performance of Indian currency against these developed and emerging markets reflects India’s prudent management of the challenges of pandemic, inflation and global supply chain disruption. India has managed to prevent shortage of essential commodities such as food, fuel, medicine and COVID vaccines in this challenging time. At the local level, non government organisations such as MVIRDC WTC Mumbai have supported state governments in administering vaccination and distributing food to the needy people,” said Dr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, World Trade Center Mumbai and Board Director World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), New York at the webinar to mark 20th anniversary of the UN-designated WTCA Day.

As part of its community service amidst the pandemic, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai provided complimentary space for one of the largest COVID vaccine centers in South Mumbai, financially supported Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for vaccinating more than 16,500 people in the city and also distributed food grains to underprivileged and economically weaker sections of the society.

With the coordinated efforts of government and civil society, India managed to navigate the economic challenges posed by the COVID pandemic and food supply shock. At a time when many countries are facing food shortage amidst supply chain disruption and rise in the global price of agro inputs such as fertilizers and petroleum products, India has become a net exporter of foodgrains, thereby contributing to the food security of other countries. India has also helped other countries overcome the COVID pandemic by exporting COVID vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic kits.

Dr. Kalantri added, “India’s economic growth recovered to 8.7% in 2021-22 after contracting 6.6% in the previous year because of the pandemic. In the current financial year, the economy is expected to grow above 7% because of prick up in bank credit growth and inflow of foreign direct investment. As a result of our economic resilience, the Indian currency has depreciated by only 6%, against 26% depreciation in the currency of Japan, 16-17% depreciation of Chinese renminbi and around 16% decline in the value of UK sterling.”

Dr. Kalantri, who is also the Chairman of Agriculture Member Advisory Council (MAC) of WTCA, New York, informed that the Council will create digital platform to promote global trade in agro products. Annually, USD 1.8 trillion worth of food commodities are exported across the globe and to facilitate access to this global market for local farmers and food processing units, the Council will conduct online trade fairs and networking events in the coming months.”

Speaking at the webinar, Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai highlighted the role of the Center in connecting MSMEs and women entrepreneurs to global market by launching a new age digital platform, wetrade.org, amidst the pandemic. Ms. Naik pointed out that the Center connected more than 1000 exhibitors to buyers in foreign countries by organising online bilateral exhibitions with Vietnam, Mauritius, Thailand, Zambia, Southern African region, Brazil and the Caribbean region.

WTCA Day is celebrated every year to celebrate the spirit of solidarity among all the WTCs in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack at the twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center.

The webinar was organised on the theme “Shape Up WTC Business Operations for a New Era” by the WTCA Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) in collaboration with the APAC Trade Services Member Advisory Council (MAC).

The program discussed major trends shaping up WTC business operations in the Asia Pacific region, and also examined their impacts on trade facilities and services offered by WTCs in the region.

The webinar was also addressed by Mr. Robin van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director-Business Development, WTCA, New York, Mr. Scott Wang, Vice President, Asia Pacific, WTCA, New York and functionaries of WTCs in India, Taipei, Beijing, Binh Duong New City, Metro Manila and Suzhou.