Trade Resilience Forum 2023: adapting to current crises and exploring new trade opportunities

December 7, 2023

The third edition of the largest trade and export promotion event in the Republic of Moldova – Trade Resilience Forum – took place on 6 December. More than 170 producers from both banks of the Nistru river, along with international and local experts, decision-makers, representatives of civil society, academia and development partners met in Chișinău to discuss new trends in international trade and strategies to increase the resilience of Moldovan producers in the face of current crises, and to identify practical and innovative solutions for export promotion.

The event was organised by the UNDP project “Advanced cross-river capacities for trade" (AdTrade), with financial assistance from Sweden and the United Kingdom.

At the beginning of the Forum, Fern Horine, the British Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, said: "Through the AdTrade project, the United Kingdom supports entrepreneurs from both banks of the Nistru river to deepen their partnerships and boost their cross-river economic cooperation. It is great to see business and people working together.”

During the discussion sessions, participants highlighted the profound impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis on Moldova's trade context. Some traditional markets were disrupted, logistic routes were affected, and price fluctuations added further uncertainty to the Moldovan economy. Officials from the Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalization and from the Investment Agency presented public policies and programmes aimed at supporting the business environment and exports promotion.

Experts formulated several recommendations to increase producers' resilience to trade challenges, such as using e-commerce and alternative logistics routes to diversify markets. Representatives of retailers and distributors supported these recommendations and offered essential tips for exporters from the Republic of Moldova.  

According to Thomas Alveteg, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden in Chișinău: “In the framework of AdTrade project, supported by Sweden and UK, new businesses have been initiated and supported considering the participation of women, youth and returned migrants. Currently, social businesses are also in focus. Our joint efforts continue to be focused to assist companies in reaching new external markets and to find new partners. Through business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities, companies could better promote their products and services but also improve some of their internal processes.”

Representatives of several Moldovan and foreign companies shared their best practices in adapting the supply chain and transforming challenges presented by the multidimensional crisis into opportunities for growth and reinvention. One of the leading distributors from the Nordic countries inspired the audience about opportunities to access the markets of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, describing the specifics of these markets, and export terms and conditions for Moldovan producers.   

Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova, told during event that the chosen subject of the Moldova Trade Resilience Forum is profoundly relevant to the current global landscape. “Geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainties, energy and cost of living crises, and disruption of supply chains have become our new and persistent reality. In response, the need for adaptability and a commitment to sustainable development is critical. With this in mind, the Moldova Trade Resilience Forum supports economic recovery by engaging with key stakeholders—government, private sector, development actors, think thanks and academia—in discussions on trade as a driver for recovery. The private sector is critical to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals—it creates employment, builds skills, spurs innovation, provides essential infrastructure, and supplies affordable goods and services." 

The special guest of the event, business expert and renowned global market researcher Kjell Anders Nordström, gave his forecasts regarding the prospects of Moldova's global trade in the current geopolitical context and proposed solutions for businesses to cope with the multiple crises.

In the second part of the day, B2B sessions were organized, where producers from both banks of the Nistru river had the opportunity to present their commercial offers and initiate partnerships with the largest trade networks in Moldova and other producers. 

Moldova Trade Resilience Forum is part of a series of activities supported by Sweden, United Kingdom and UNDP under the AdTrade Project, aimed at increasing the competitiveness of enterprises from both banks of the Nistru river and promoting their cooperation to boost exports and diversify markets.