UAE seeks to accelerate global trade, economic growth: Al Zeyoudi

The UAE, the minister said, wants to be the bridge to the private sector, driving new trade deals, partnerships, FDI, and talent migration, and helping to connect the world’s fastest-growing economies



Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the centre of economic gravity is slowly shifting south and east. — Supplied photos
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the centre of economic gravity is slowly shifting south and east. — Supplied photos
by

Issac John

Published: Thu 19 Jan 2023, 7:22 PM

The UAE seeks to drive global economic expansion at a time when many worry about deglobalisation, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, declared on the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos as he sought to position Arab world’s second-largest economy as a vital “gateway to the world and a leading voice on trade reform.”

The UAE, the minister said, wants to be the bridge to the private sector, driving new trade deals, partnerships, FDI, and talent migration, and helping to connect the world’s fastest-growing economies. “This is why we are working with the World Economic Forum to study ways to inject technology into our global trading system and drive that change.”

“At a time when many worry about deglobalization, we are looking to drive global economic expansion – to the benefit of us all,” Al Zeyoudi said as he sought to champion multilateralism during his discussions with leaders across the world.

The UAE minister’s upbeat stance on multilateralism and the clarion call to accelerate international trade came amid a gloomy forecast for global trade, prompting the World Trade Organisation to call for a new form of globalization dubbed “reglobalisation.”

After a record year for global trade, with the total value exceeding $32 trillion and world container shipping hitting an all-time high in August 2022, the WTO has trimmed its forecast for trade growth to just one per cent in 2023, citing increasing downside risks from inflation, consumer spending, and the ongoing energy crisis.

Citing the UAE’s own trade success in 2022, including record exports, with the first half-year trade value exceeding Dh1 trillion, Al Zeyoudi positioned the UAE as a gateway to the world – and a leading voice on trade reform.

Highlighting the centrality of trade to the global economy and the importance of modernising supply chains to meet the challenges in the year ahead, Al Zeyoudi said: “Amid an uncertain global economic global climate, the UAE remains an open, ambitious, dynamic economy that is reaching out to the world to accelerate trade.

“The centre of economic gravity is slowly shifting south and east, and we are right at the heart of this evolution. In the first half of 2022, the Middle East experienced the highest year-on-year trade growth in the world at 74 per cent, and we believe our foreign trade agenda can continue to facilitate global trade,” the UAE minister said at WEF.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, at the panel discussion in Davos.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, at the panel discussion in Davos.

The minister also called for accelerating the adoption of technology “to catalyze the flow of goods and ensure all nations have equal, unrestricted access to the global trading system.”

He welcomed WTO’s decision to host its 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in Q1 2024. The minister held discussions with Yulia Svyrydenko, first deputy prime minister, and minister of economy of Ukraine; Pan Sorasak, minister of commerce for Cambodia, two nations with whom the UAE is now negotiating Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements. He also met with Jozef Sikela, minister of industry and trade for the Czech Republic; Alfredo Pascual, secretary of trade and industry for the Philippines; Hadja Lahbib minister of foreign affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions for Belgium; and Ryad Mezzour, minister of industry and trade for Morocco.

The discussions came on the back of the UAE signing a memorandum of understanding with the WEF to support the launch of the UAE’s Trade Tech Initiative, which seeks to accelerate the integration of advanced technology into the global trading system.

Al Zeyoudi also held talks with Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, whose 8th World Investment Forum will be hosted in Abu Dhabi in October 2023.

He also took part in the “TradeTech Meets FinTech” panel discussion alongside Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general, of WTO, Makhtar Diop, managing director of International Finance Corporation, and Peggy Alford, executive vice-president of global sales, PayPal. The panel explored how the digitization of international supply chains and transactions will enable more accessible and reliable trade, financing, and payments.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Business