UAE to host WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Q1 2024

Abu Dhabi to welcome leaders and dignitaries from WTO’s 164 member states
UAE to host WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Q1 2024
WTO Ministerial Conference

The United Arab Emirates was announced as the host of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The foremost deliberation body of the WTO, which meets once every two years, will be coming to Abu Dhabi in Q1 2024, placing the UAE at the heart of the conversations that will shape the immediate future of global trade.

MC13 is already regarded as one of the most pivotal in the WTO’s recent history. After the successes of the MC12, which 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”, MC13 is now the opportunity to finally introduce impactful reform to the WTO itself – 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.

WTO Ministerial Conference

H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy

H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said: “The 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization reflects the UAE’s status as a key facilitator of trade and investment between all four corners of the world. It is also the culmination of the qualitative leaps that the UAE has achieved in terms of economic growth and diversification over recent decades, which has been central to our bold vision to unleash a new era of sustainable economic development.

“The leadership of the UAE has placed trade front and center of our new economic vision, recognizing its role as a catalyst to growth, inward investment, talent attraction, and social, cultural, and industrial development. Our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements 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. An international event as significant as MC13 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.”

WTO Ministerial Conference

H.E. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology

H.E. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, added: “Hosting the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Conference in the UAE reflects the country’s growing influence on global trade, as well as our ongoing commitment to galvanizing international efforts to overcome economic challenges. Under the directives of our leadership, we are strengthening relations with the international community to accelerate trade growth, investment flows, and sustainable development around the world.

“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. MC13 provides an ideal platform for the UAE to engage the international trading community to help build more resilient, effective supply chains.”

WTO Ministerial Conference

H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade

H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade urged the global trading community at the WTO’s General Council meeting in October to strengthen the body’s role as a forum for trade negotiation and rule-making, reinvigorate its dispute resolution and arbitration functions, embrace digitalization and strategic digital trade policies, and address market-distorting subsidies while protecting the interests of emerging nations.

His Excellency Al Zeyoudi said: “Trade has shaped the history of the UAE and now we have the chance to shape the future of trade. MC13 has the potential to deliver meaningful reform for the WTO and help it reclaim its role as the sole, authoritative custodian of global trade. We look forward to welcoming the leadership of the WTO’s 164 member states and taking a prominent role in re-energizing the global trading system, future-proofing it for the 21st century and ensuring it remains an engine of inclusive, sustainable economic development.”

WTO Ministerial Conference

H.E. Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs

H.E. Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, added:

“Hosting the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference underlines the UAE’s position as a global business center, a vital gateway to trade and investment, and a major contributor to the future of the multilateral trading system. 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, all of which will have an important stimulative effect on the global macroeconomic landscape.

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.”

H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development

H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, added: “Having been chosen to host the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization is testament to the United Arab Emirates’ and Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a credible, neutral and successful global facilitator of trade and commerce. We pledge to continue to uphold the WTO’s ethos, to ensure a world where trade flows freely, and to fight for a fair, equitable, and more open rule-based system for all. We shall push for progressive liberalization of trade in services, reject of all forms of protectionism and discrimination, and boost transparency.

Over the decades, the capital of the UAE has led the drive to make the country the attractive and dynamic global business destination it is today. We have ensured uninterrupted trade inflows and outflows and we have unearthed untapped opportunities for everyone. These efforts will continue, especially as we roll out our federal plans for building and perfecting a “Falcon Economy”, based on sustainability. This means a growing, prosperous, liberalized, and diversified economy driven by a strategic vision, structural transformations, and counter-cyclical monetary and fiscal policies, resulting in circular growth and development. Abu Dhabi looks forward to in-depth discussions, analyses and resolutions to the problems facing the world.”

H.E. Jassim Mohammed Buataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Finance Department

H.E. Jassim Mohammed Buataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Finance Department, added: “Hosting the MC13 is a noteworthy achievement, one that underscores the UAE’s reputation as a leading and neutral global center guiding responsible financial services and monetary policies needed for complementing the global trade and commerce mix. The country’s financial sector plays a significant role on the international stage alongside others, and ensures the world’s economies continue to be highly inter-connected, as we jointly achieve and enact optimal monetary policies beneficial for all. We look forward to receiving the ministers, senior officials and policy makers of the WTO and sharing the UAE’s expertise in the world of financial services and business development towards sustainable future paths.”

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Ports

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Ports, added: “This is a hugely significant announcement for Abu Dhabi – and for the UAE as a whole. In recent years, Abu Dhabi has emerged as a global leader in logistics and industry, with our ports pioneering new solutions that facilitate the faster, more efficient movement of goods. The Ministerial Conference will help confirm the city’s position on the international trading map and elevate our voice in matters of regulation, governance and innovation.”

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC Group

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC Group, said: “The UAE is a leading strategic hub for international trade, and welcomes business delegations continuously across a wide range of investment sectors. Abu Dhabi is at the forefront of driving greater sustainable development for the business tourism industry, which highlights its dynamic position regionally.

“ADNEC is proud to support the UAE bid for hosting the WTO’s meetings. In collaboration with national partners across the public and private sectors, we aim to deliver an exceptional edition that reflects on UAE’s reputable position – both regionally and globally.

The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is well recognized as the preferred destination for organizing and hosting mega international events through world-class infrastructure, capabilities, and facilities, which are the largest in the MENA region with an area of more than 153,000 square meters. We look forward to the opportunity of welcoming WTO delegations and visits to the UAE,” Al Dhaheri added.

The United Arab Emirate’s drive to host the next edition of the MC stems from its belief in a world where trade flows freely. The country and its historical land and sea routes, have been used by ancient global traders linking the Arabian Penninsula to the Sub-Continent, the rest of Asia  and beyond. The UAE already champions numerous trade-facilitating agreements and knowledge exchange programs with many countries, such as its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements, Virtual Trade Corridors and Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Trade and Logistics Platform facilitating commerce and trade, all of which promote a more open and equitable multilateral trading system.

The 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation will be held in Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2024. It will follow the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28), enabling the UAE to play an instrumental role in driving dialogue and action across the world’s most pressing global issues.

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