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UAE calls for joint international action to develop the global trade system to ensure efficient flow of goods & services

AbuDhabi, 12 October 2022

H.E.Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, led a UAE delegation to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s General Council meeting in Geneva that held recently,  during which he urged the global trading community to move forward with reforms to modernize the global trade system. H.E. Al Zeyoudi was accompanied to Geneva by H.E. Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Jarman, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and H.E.  Rashed Al Balooshi, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED).

Addressing the Council, the highest-level decision-making body of the WTO, H.E. Al Zeyoudi reasserted the UAE’s belief that global trade is both a key catalyst for inclusive global growth and an important remedy for the current economic headwinds. He cited the progress made at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June, which included breakthroughs on fisheries subsidies, intellectual property, pandemic preparedness and removing restrictions on food exports, and then called for similar unity of purpose to ensure the WTO remains a credible custodian of global trade.

“Now is the time to build on this momentum and push for greater progress to embrace digitalization and enhance strategic digital trade policies, as well as to strengthen the WTO’s role as a forum for trade negotiation and rule-making, and an effective platform for dispute resolution and arbitration. We look forward to working closely with WTO members in the year ahead to strengthen the future of global trade by building greater inclusiveness, transparency and innovation in our multilateral trading system.”

On the sidelines of the meetings, H.E. Al Zeyoudi also met with WTO Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and congratulated her on her successful stewardship of the Organization to date, including the positive outcomes of MC12, and expressing confidence in her ability to restore stability to global trade. He also held discussions with Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the pressing issues of climate change and food security, and  with WEF President Børge Brende on the current economic landscape. He later attended a meeting of Arab Ambassadors.

Over the two days, H.E. Al Zeyoudi also sought support for the UAE’s bid to host the 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi in December, 2023. At a reception hosted by the UAE in Geneva, he outlined to ambassadors from WTO member states why the UAE’s trading history, support for multilateralism and unrivalled track record in hosting international events make it an ideal venue for MC13.

“Meetings of the WTO General Council are a welcome opportunity to connect with the global trading community and reassert our commitment to open, frictionless, rules-based trade,” he said. “I believe that commitment has perhaps never been more important. As we emerge from the biggest disruption to supply chains in our lifetimes, member states must continue to reject isolationism and protectionism and pursue multilateral, multilevel partnerships that accelerate the flow of goods, remove unnecessary barriers to trade and catalyze industrial activity and job creation. With our CEPA agenda, we have placed trade at the heart of our new economic policy, and it is important that we are able to advance ideas that can enhance the global trading system.”

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