UAE to host next World Trade Organisation meeting in 2024

The President and Vice-President of the nation made the announcement today


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Mon 19 Dec 2022, 2:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Dec 2022, 8:21 PM

The UAE will host the next ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the first quarter of 2024 which will help accelerate progress on key issues surrounding global trade as well reforms of the trading body.

Around 164 members of the global trade body convene once every two years in a high-profile meeting to discuss the issues that shape the immediate future of global trade.

Regarded as one of the most pivotal in the WTO’s recent history, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi will be a catalyst to introduce impactful reform and usher in a new wave of measures that will safeguard the future of the body as a credible custodian of the multilateral trading system.

The President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE is honoured to have been selected as the host country for the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in 2024.

“We look forward to facilitating constructive dialogue between WTO nations and strengthening international cooperation for a sustainable economic future,” said Sheikh Mohamed.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, welcomed the 164 member countries and the global trade body to hold global trade development talks in early 2024 in the UAE.

“We support all international steps that guarantee the free flow of goods and services between different countries of the world and protect the future of global trade,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said trade has shaped the UAE’s history and now the UAE will shape the future of trade. “In 2024, the UAE will host the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference and lead discussions on multilateralism, digital trade and inclusive development – and confirm our role as a global trading hub,” Al Zeyoudi said in a tweet after the UAE won the rights to host the global conference.

The WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) took place on June 12-17, 2022, at its headquarters in Geneva. Ministers from across the world attended to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, to make general statements and to take action on the future work of the global trade body.

The 12th edition reached landmark multinational agreements on issues such as pandemic preparedness, intellectual property rights, the removal of food export prohibitions and fisheries subsidies, in what has become known as “The Geneva Package”.

While the 14th Ministerial Conference will be held in Cameroon, it was announced after the General Council meeting on Monday.

The WTO recently projected that global trade growth is expected to slow down in the closing months of this year and early next year.

Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO will further position the UAE as an essential contributor to rejuvenating international trade, which is critical to unlocking long-term, sustainable growth around the world.

“Our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) with India, Israel and Indonesia, and those that will be concluded with other dynamic economies around the world in the coming months, reflect our belief in multilateralism and our commitment to creating new opportunities for our exporters, industrialists, manufacturers and investors,” he said.

Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said the UAE hosting WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference reflects the country’s growing influence on global trade.

“The UAE is transforming its economy, accelerating its industrial output, integrating advanced technology to foster the industries of the future, and developing new capabilities in sectors such as renewable energy, and space exploration. We need an efficient, regulated and digitally enabled global trading system to fully capitalize on these opportunities, and we are eager to take a lead on the discussions that will shape the future of trade,” said Al Jaber.

Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, added that the UAE’s new foreign trade agenda is ensuring the country is taking an active international role not only in the free flow of goods and services but in the creation of new opportunities and frameworks for investment.

“As supply chains recover from the impact of the pandemic, enhancing the efficiency of global trade is of critical importance. Through the WTO, the UAE will seek to pursue progressive policy initiatives that smooth cross-border payments, reduce risk and ensure inclusive access to the global trading system for developing economies around the world,” he said.


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