Ministry of Economy and Crescent Enterprises launch report on Future of Trade 2050 at WTO’s MC13

The report is a crucial discussion document on the forces anticipated to impact the trading system over the next 25 years

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Published: Wed 28 Feb 2024, 5:24 PM

The UAE Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with Crescent Enterprises and Gulftainer, launched a report titled 'Trade 2050: A Private Sector Perspective' during The World Trade Organisation's 13th Ministerial Conference from February 26 to 29 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The report was announced by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, at the annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organisation.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said: "The history of the UAE has been shaped by trade, and we are keen to help shape its future. As new technologies emerge and economies seek to become more sustainable and environmentally responsible, the global trading system must constantly evolve to meet new forms of exchange. It is important that we in the global trading community always anticipate the forces impacting supply chains. This new report, which gathers the thoughts of key private-sector players from around the world, seeks to identify some of those forces – and the agility, adaptability and foresight we must demonstrate to keep pace with them. Only by understanding what trade might look like in 25 years' time, can we develop a system that is fairer and fully future-proofed."

Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, a UAE-headquartered multinational diversified business, revealed some of the report's main findings at the WTO's MC13's Ceremonial Gala dinner on February 26. Addressing trade ministers and senior officials from around the world, along with representatives of several local and federal entities and the private sector, Jafar outlined the importance of joint efforts between the public, private and civil sectors in tackling the rapid technological, socio-economic, political and environmental changes that will take place over the coming years, adding: "In today's dynamic environment, the need to react to ever-changing realities can be all-consuming. During such times of transition, we have a duty and an opportunity to look beyond our immediate interests as policymakers, companies and individuals. By deepening our collaboration across borders, sectors and disciplines, we can help shape the major paradigm shifts that will transform the future of trade."

"The UAE, underpinned by its highly strategic location, world-class infrastructure and strong international relationships, is uniquely positioned to work constructively with other members of the international community to address the various challenges that confront us and realise the many opportunities within our grasp. I remain optimistic that by working together, we can create a more prosperous and sustainable future where trade can flourish anew, and nobody is left behind," he added.

This report is a crucial discussion document on the forces anticipated to impact the trading system over the next 25 years. It emphasises the evolving relationship between trade, geopolitics, and global commerce, significantly influenced by megatrends such as rapid technological advancements. The report highlights the rising prominence of emerging economies, the transformational role of technology, the rapid growth of service trade, and the importance of sustainability in global trade. This report aims to prompt relevant stakeholders to take the needed and timely collective actions to anticipate potential risks, be prepared for future challenges and capitalise on available opportunities.

The report discusses not only how the methods of conducting trade will transform but also how the commodities being traded will evolve. It highlights the necessity for adapting to emerging technologies, integrating growing economies into global trade, committing to sustainability, supporting SMEs, and acknowledging the significant contribution of the services sector to the global economy. The report advocates for collaboration, innovation, and the development of inclusive regulatory frameworks to ensure a resilient and sustainable future for global trade.

Commenting on the future of trade, Tim Haas, group COO at Gulftainer, a leading operator of ports and terminals and a provider of customised supply chain and logistics solutions, said: "As part of the global supply chain, it is essential for us to be forward-looking and anticipate the forthcoming changes that will impact the future of the industry in the coming decades. By proactively adapting to the potential challenges and foreseeing opportunities in global trade, we will better prepare our organisations and serve our customers. The Future of Trade 2050 paper is a reflection of the required collaboration amongst public and private sectors to ensure a better trading environment for all."

This report is a testament to the UAE's efforts and position as a major gateway for global trade and investment and its proactive role in shaping the discourse surrounding international and inclusive trade.

The full report can be found here.

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