Long before globalisation became a buzzword in India, the World Trade Centre in Mumbai had created a platform for building business trust across the globe. Established in 1970, the WTC at Cuffe Parade in India’s commercial capital Mumbai, has pioneered growth in trade and commerce.
The WTC complex is one of Mumbai’s best-known landmarks with a magnificent entrance and marbled arch that welcomes the refreshing breeze from the Arabian Sea. Aesthetically landscaped with sprawling lawns, the Arcade is the central motif with the two imposing twin towers forming the backdrop. The building complex provides ample parking space, a luxury in this bustling metropolis.
The WTC Mumbai is promoted by the M Visvesvaraya Industrial Research and Development Centre (MVIRDC) that was set up in 1970 as a non-profit company. A public-private partnership involving the Government of India, the State Government of Maharashtra, as well as private sector trade and industry, it is dedicated to the memory of a visionary engineer and statesman, the late Sir M Visvesvaraya.
MVIRDC became a member of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), New York, USA in 1971. WTCA is a not-for-profit and non-political organisation with footprints in all continents. It is the most powerful network of organisations involved in the promotion of world trade, its mission being ‘Prosperity Through Trade’. Being part of such a vital mission, WTC Mumbai’s endeavour has been to be the nation’s most preferred catalyst for development of international trade.
It is the first operating WTC in India and its services have been certified by the WTCA as ‘Best Quality Practices’. It has also got the licences to establish WTCs in four more cities in India, namely Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Kolkata. WTC Mumbai has close to 20000 direct and indirect members who are represented through chambers of commerce and associations.
Its purpose is to build a fertile environment for international trade through the involvement of relevant businesses and government agencies in discussions and deliberations on policies and regulations. It provides multilateral services for the promotion of commerce and brings together potential business partners through trade missions, buyer-seller meets and conferences.
It offers guidance on policies and procedures, and helps in redressal of grievances of members in dealings with government departments, financial institutions and policy makers.
Offices of several prestigious institutions are located in the World Trade Center Mumbai.
Starting from becoming the foremost international trade hub in India, the WTC has systematically upgraded its infrastructure and services. During the 70s, the Arcade became a landmark in the city by bringing together various state emporia, leading textiles and garments produers, showrooms of engineering firms, banks, travel organisations, logistics companies and others connected with world trade.
During the next decade, it created additional infrastructure with what was till 2010, the tallest buildings in the city, the Centre 1 (a 32-storey building) and the IDBI Tower (24-storey). The Centre brought together offices of major organisations, such as the Export- Import Bank of India, Reserve Bank of India, Industrial Development Bank of India, Indian Banks’ Association, Tata Motors Ltd, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, The Great Eastern Shipping Company Ltd, State Bank of India, Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority, Taipei World Trade Center, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, Engineering Export Promotion Council and various other Export Promotion Councils.
Along with setting up a business centre and a meeting room for the use of industry, trade and government organisations, WTC Mumbai diversified its service activities to include research, trade information and trade education.
With India’s economic liberalisation in 1991, it began to play a catalytic role in the promotion of world trade and investment. Indian businesses were freed from many regulations that fettered them within the country, and were also encouraged to look at international business opportunities. WTC Mumbai’s services have helped the development of globalisation and also generated new ideas and services from this process.
Under the leadership of Kamal Morarka, a prominent industrialist who is also a former Member of Parliament and former Minister with the Government of India, and Vijay G Kalantri, another well-known industrialist, who became its President and the Vice President respectively in 1995, the WTC Mumbai has initiated a stronger drive for trade promotion. Kalantri was elected to the WTCA Board of Directors in 2001; he is also President of the All India Association of Industries (AIAI).
WTC and AIAI organise many events together to promote India’s foreign trade, investment and technology such as the WTCA Spring Meet in April 2005, the Innovative Technologies for Manufacturing (ITM) Expo & Conferences in 2008 and 2009, the Global Economic Summit 2010 and India’s first International Maritime Logistics Exhibition 2010. Over 25 countries participate in the WTC-AIAI international events.
WTC Mumbai participates in major international events such as the World Trade Organization Annual Public Forum, WTO Ministerial Meetings, WTCA General Assemblies and WTCA Regional Meetings, Futurallia B2B Events and International Association of Science Parks General Assemblies.
WTC Mumbai assists small and medium enterprises through Trade Point Mumbai and is a member of the World Trade Point Federation, Geneva.
|Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India, delivering the Third Sir M Visvesvaraya Memorial lecture at WTC on 21st December 2011
||A plush office suite in the World Trade Centre Mumbai
Research & Development
Research & Development is one of the principal activities of the organisation as information is a key factor for business. WTC also conducts research-based seminars and studies for industries, diplomatic missions, services and business sectors. It brings out a quarterly international trade journal ‘World Trade Research and Information Report’ which provides a wide range of information on international trade.
The International Trade Library at WTC, started in 1989, is an exclusive source of business information. Situated in the Centre 1 building, it has a user-friendly environment that allows easy access to various sources of trade information from the large collection of trade directories, journals and related publications.
The WTC Library became a depository library for international organisations like the World Bank, WTO and UNCTAD/ITC as well as the Government of India. The library also serves as a sourcing guide for foreign entrepreneurs through its import-export databank, which is India’s first ever computerised database on imports and exports based on the Customs Daily List.
As the world became a globalised village, there was a swift need for specialised knowledge in various business domains. The WTC set up the World Trade Institute (WTI) in 1991 to give students and professionals adequate knowledge and skills on the various aspects of foreign trade. WTI was the pioneer in introducing a six-month Post Graduate Diploma in Foreign Trade in 1995 and Post Graduate Diploma in Forex and Risk Management in 1999.
WTI has also introduced a Post Graduate Diploma in Import-Export Management through Distance Education. The courses offered by WTI are recognised by the industry and entrepreneurs in India and abroad. WTI has been certified as the ‘Best Practice Institute’ for its superior quality performance by WTCA, New York which makes it a benchmark for other WTCs.
WTC offers all the services associated with global commerce at one place, which gives the businessmen prime and continuous access to resources essential for success in world trade. Members can access all reciprocal WTC services from around the world.
The WTC has three centrally air-conditioned buildings with a total built-up area of about 15 lakh (1.5 million) sq ft in a prime area of downtown Mumbai. It houses various offices and agencies involved in different aspects of international trade.
Centre 1 houses offices of organisations connected with world trade, business, industry and the executive offices of the World Trade Centre. These include international representative offices, export promotion councils, travel and cargo agents and financial institutions.
Centre 2, the 24-storeyed tower adjacent to Centre 1, has offices of the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), which has supported the World Trade Centre from its inception. The Arcade houses a wide variety of shops, showrooms and services. Several State Governments have set up their emporia in the Arcade, showcasing India’s multi-faceted cultural identity.
Center Point is the Business Centre with furnished offices and well-appointed executive suites that include meeting rooms and business cabins, and is backed by secretarial and state-of-the-art communication facilities.
The business cabins located on the first floor of Centre 1 offer a grand view of the Southwest Bay and the Arabian Sea. The ten meeting rooms are designed for flexibility and can accommodate as few as ten people to as many as 300, in either conference or theatre seating format.
The Expo Centre on the first floor of the Arcade is a centrally air-conditioned exhibition centre with an area of 25250 sq ft and is backed by support services. It is an ideal venue for both national and international trade shows with a choice of combinations from 10000 sq ft to 15000 sq ft for exhibitions and events, and offers support and technical services.
WTCA Annual Day in June is a special day for WTCs worldwide to mark their solidarity and reaffirm their commitment to cooperation with businesses for mutual benefit. WTC Mumbai felicitates organisations or individuals for their outstanding contribution to India’s international trade and investment. Recipients of the WTC Mumbai Award of Honour include Tata Motors, which is India’s foremost auto manufacturer, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Essar Group, Padma Bhushan Capt. CP Krishnan Nair of The Leela Group of hotels and Dr BR Barwale of Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.
YR Warerkar, Executive Director, WTC Mumbai, says, “WTC Mumbai has not only put India on the map of the WTCA, but in the process it has also become India’s preferred catalyst for the promotion of world trade.”
WTC Mumbai offers the following services:
Trade promotion and facilitation
WTC Mumbai organises buyer-seller meets for visiting overseas delegations and hosts Indian Trade Missions to enable businessmen from India to explore overseas opportunities. It provides business matchmaking (B2B) services to its members and visiting delegations. It has signed over 70 Memorandum of Cooperation, with chambers of commerce and trade associations from all over the world.
Trade Information facilities include an International Trade Library and access to WTCA Online, which enables members to access trade information at their convenience.
WTC Mumbai also provides guidance on policy, procedures as well as assistance in redressal of grievances of members with concerned government departments, financial institutions and policy makers.
WTC Mumbai is authorised by the Commerce Ministry of the Government of India to issue Certificate of Origin to assist export activity.
It also organises sector specific international exhibitions and conferences to facilitate international trade and investments. Expos, Global Economic Summits are some such examples.
Trade Point is a source of trade related information, a trade facilitation centre as well as a gateway to global electronic networks. WTC Mumbai is also the operating Trade Point in India and a member of the World Trade Point Federation (WTPF) Geneva, which has a network of 100 trade points in 70 countries.
Knowledge-based services: Research & Development
|WTO Study Centre provides information and details about WTO agreements and its implications on Indian industries.
WTC offers Impex Databank, which is India’s first ever computerised database on India’s Imports and Exports based on the Customs Daily List. This database helps in identifying export products and import substitution. It also helps in evaluating prices effectively. It covers India’s 12 major ports.
WTC’s knowledge-based services have expanded considerably in terms of research, education and information. Its research expertise was availed by the government as well as private sector to promote foreign trade and investments. Its research publications were utilised extensively by government and industry.
WTC’s membership increased to 2000 (direct) all over India and 20000 (indirect) through chambers and associations, and the membership has derived many advantages from the WTCA and overseas WTCs.