Tentative deals worth more than $80 million were made during business-to-business (B2B) meetings at the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Doha, Qatar.
It was organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of the State of Qatar through the Qatar Development Bank, said a statement.
Following two days of meetings between companies from across the world, around 90 letters of intent were announced cutting across a variety of sectors, it said.
The pledges were made food and beverage, plastics, services and tourism sectors.
More than 700 people from 92 countries attended the event, including 26 least developed countries.
Five trade promotion organisations from Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia, Nigeria and Vietnam, signed an agreement to support trade development among each other.
Arancha González, ITC executive director, said: “The incredibly productive B2B sessions have yielded around 90 declarations of intent to do business worth a total of $80 million.
“The prospective deals cut across sectors, from bottled water and juice production to distribution services. Significantly, most of the deals were for South-South trade and investment.”
Hassan Khalifa Al Mansoori, executive director of QDB, said that SMEs play an important role in Qatar’s diversification efforts.
“We are extremely proud to have hosted a successful WEDF. Even more so given the number of potential business deals that have been agreed here in Doha,” he said.
On WEDF’s last day, ITC unveiled a new publication and an online standards tool on halal, which seek to help businesses capture the potential of the trillion dollar global halal market.
“The halal food sector offers large and growing market for small and medium-sized enterprises seeking to diversify and gain a competitive edge in this area,” González said.
From Niche to Mainstream: Halal Goes Global is the first publication to provide an overview of the global halal food and beverage market. It provides trade data, consumer trends, farm-to-fork challenges in the supply chain, and recommendations for trade and investment support institutions to promote a national halal industry. An Arabic version of the publication’s executive summary is already available.ITC has developed the ITC Halal Standards Map to help suppliers navigate the maze of halal standards around the world, because of the need for producers to comply with a variety of standards to gain access to markets.
The tool has reliable information for relevant standards, helps users identify appropriate audit systems and institutions, and allows businesses to self-assess their compliance against standards of relevance to them.
During the two-day event in Doha, speakers addressed the unique challenges and opportunities faced by SMEs in developing countries and economies in transition. They explored how these businesses, which account for the bulk of employment around the world, can be empowered to use international trade and investment to drive growth and job creation.
WEDF consisted of four plenary sessions and four parallel breakout sessions, alongside structured and informal B2B meetings that allowed participating SMEs to meet potential customers, suppliers, and investors.