IUCAB Annual meeting in Helsinki 24.-27.5.2017

The Finnish Foreign Trade Agents Federation organized the IUCAB Annual Meeting this year. The meeting was originally planned to take place in St Petersburg but due to the changes in St Peter Line’s services we could not reach the time table requested. So the location was changed and with a very tight schedule FFTAF arranged the meeting in Helsinki. The decision was made mid-February, which left only tree months to organize everything.

About forty IUCAB members attended the meeting presenting different agency organisations from totally 19 countries. The official meeting was held in Hotel Crowne Plaza in Helsinki. The delegates had also booked their rooms in this hotel. The meeting program consisted of normal annual meeting program: elections of the president, vice-presidents and auditors as well as budgetary matters. In addition to this basic program our idea was to organize B2B meetings with Finnish small and medium enterprises and delegates, but it failed due to lack of interest from SME’s side. This situation presented itself mid-May and caused us a problem: what kind of program for Friday afternoon! The former president of FFTAF, Mr. Hannes Berner, helped us by getting us in touch with CEO Leena Mörttinen from The Finnish Family Firms Association. Ms. Leena Mörttinen was willing to be a keynote speaker for the international audience. As the other keynote speaker Mr. Pertti Särösalo from Accountor.

Before the Annual Meeting LWG – Legal Working Group, SWG – Secretarial Working Group and Excom – the board of IUCAB, held their meetings. Nordic Federation, myself Eeva Pakkanen as the president of the Federation, also had the annual meeting. It was started on Wednesday evening with dinner in my home. The official meeting was scheduled on Thursday morning. We discussed about the situation in member countries:

  • Norway is now part of VIRKE, virke.no, still being independent organisation as agents. Now they are heard when decisions are made.
  • The Danish association is part of the local Chamber of Commerce, but not as it’s own organisation.
  • Swedish organisation has succeeded very well. They use the name Trade Partners in Sweden / Agenturföretagen. A year ago they opened the new Stockholms Fashion District showroom in Nacka, next to Stockholm. Nacka is really a fine area of Stockholm. In addition they are in continuous contact with Team Sweden.

There has been quite many Come-into-contact advertisements on the Nordic Platform. The share Finland receives of the current result is rather small due to our low membership figure.

After the formal meetings held on Thursday, we had in the evening a Welcome Dinner in restaurant Töölönranta. The weather was favourable, so we could walk from the hotel to the restaurant. Restaurant Töölönranta served us a really nice and enjoyable evening. Thank you!

On Friday, after the official annual meeting, we had the pleasure to listen to CEO Leena Mörttinen. The topic of her keynote speech was * The changing landscape of global economics an politics. Her presentation was excellent and the audience was eagerly placing a lot of questions to her. Leena Mörttinen gave clear answers; the occasion was really a success. The afternoon was continued with Accountor’s Director Pertti Särösalo’s speech about ‘Trade with Russia – some special features’. Also this presentation caused a lively discussion and many questions. So the program for Friday afternoon was regarded as a success by the delegates attending the meeting.

The Annual Meeting’s Gala Dinner was held in Finnish National Museum, Atelje Hall. The welcome drink was served in the main hall downstairs under the incredible frecoes from Akseli Gallén-Kallela and the guests then proceeded upstairs to Atelje Hall for dinner. During the dinner the Charles Hayward Prize was handed over to the agency of the year from Sweden

On Saturday the program was continued with a sightseeing cruise on the seashore of Helsinki. Fish soup was served for lunch on board. We also made a little walking tour in Suomenlinna, fortress island. The weather was chilly but sunny and all the thirty participants enjoyed the cruise.

Eeva Pakkanen