40 years of history


We have over 40 years of experience to be proud of. Together with our members, we have championed the role that trade plays in creating economic growth, innovation, investment and jobs, and in lifting millions of people out of poverty. 

But the world looks very different from when we were created as the Foreign Trade Association in 1977. Today’s technology was unimaginable four decades ago, and the removal of most trade barriers has allowed more open movement of products, services and people. 

Let's take a journey through the decades


1977 - the Beginnings

Our association was created in Brussels by a handful of companies, in order to represent the foreign trade interests of European retailers, brands and importers to European and international institutions. 


2003 - Beyond Europe and Free Trade

Over time, our scope evolved to respond to the increasing expectation that companies should address their social and environmental responsibilities. In particular, to inspire confidence that goods coming from factories and farms worldwide are sourced from supply chains where workers and the environment are respected.

In 2003, FTA created the Business Social Compliance Initiative, now amfori BSCI, to provide companies with a practical and efficient system to improve social compliance within their global supply chains. amfori BSCI’s success led to us adopting a new governance structure and integrating sustainability into our core business in 2011.

In 2007, we created our first office outside Europe in Hong Kong.

In 2014, we developed the Business Environmental Performance Initiative, now amfori BEPI, to support companies committed to improving environmental performance in their supply chain.


2017 - Our 40 year anniversary and a bold new strategy

2017 saw FTA turning 40, an occasion to celebrate all past achievements with our members and to start looking into the future.

We introduced our new strategy: Vision 2030. Together with our members we have evolved and embraced a new understanding of the relationship between trade and sustainability, and made the case that open trade can be an engine of environmental and social progress.

Alongside this strategy, we developed a new identity to better communicate who we are and what we stand for; to reinforce what we have built and reenergise us as we move forward. FTA became amfori, a brand that symbolises trade as a timeless instrument for human progress. 


Why amfori?

Amphorae were containers used to ship staples around the ancient world when the principles of successful trade were established. They symbolise the pioneering spirit of the early global traders and that trade is timeless, essential to our past and to our future. 

Our new name is directly inspired by them.


We are amfori. We believe in Trade With Purpose