Michael Waechter, chairman of Dubai-based CRESCO Holding, a global company of professional services businesses and Jayanthi Cornelio, founder and CEO of Al-Shaiba Medical Supplies, also based in Dubai, have both been named as co-chairpersons to the council.
The International Trade Council (ITC) includes over 200 members across the UAE, including most of the largest corporations and state-owned groups. By encouraging more small- and medium-sized firms in the area to join, the ITC hopes to help generate more international trade and exports and exploit the UAE’s potential as an “economic gateway to Africa.” This in turn should help in reducing the area’s reliance on tourism and real estate, according to Chris Cook, a spokesman for the ITC, based in Washington.
Founded in 1956, the Brussels-based ITC is a non-profit organization with more than 29,000 members in some 76 countries and across all sectors. It helps members with trade opportunities, mentoring, as well as mediating trade disputes and dealing with technical trade barriers to trade, and works with government trade agencies, legislators and regional chambers.
Corporate members of the ITC (according to its website) include Al Hilal Group, Coral Deira Dubai, Sharjah Grand Hotel and The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. European-based members include BMW, Bayer and KPMG.
New UAE regional chair Michael Waechter has organized networking and other events for entrepreneurs and international organizations visiting the Middle East and has helped several startups in the region. CRESCO Holding’s subsidiaries include businesses involved in compliance, legal, accounting, tech and a general trading firm, Al Malek Trading.
Born in the UAE, fellow regional chair Jayanthi Cornelio has a degree in electronics and telecoms and worked in the medical supply sector before founding Al Shaiba Medical Supplies. The company supplies medical equipment to hospitals and clinics across the Middle East and Africa.
Melanie Walker, board representative and member chairperson of the ITC, said: “Both of these remarkable individuals bring deep executive and operational experience to the council.
The regional chairpersons support local council members and represent them to improve services provided by the ITC as well as providing networking opportunities. As well as the UAE, new regional chairs have also recently been appointed to the council’s areas in the UK, Turkey and Kazakhstan as well as in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and San Francisco, three of the six regions it operates in the US. Other regional chairs for the council cover Canada, India and Singapore.
In a recent review of the outlook for trade credit in 2018, the ITC said that for small businesses and middle-market companies, it remains challenging to arrange loans and lines of credit from banks and other lenders. But large corporations could use their leverage to insist on longer payment terms putting pressure on supply chains.
With tensions high in the Middle East, the Korean peninsula, and other “hot zones” and US domestic strategy unclear, the council said that perhaps the greatest risks relating to credit were political.
Last year, the council flagged up to its members new regulations which came into force in Saudi Arabia requiring manufacturers, brand owners and importers to prove that their plastic products are oxo-biodegradable. It followed similar legislation in the UAE. The council also updates its members on petitions for the imposition of anti-dumping duties.