UAE Minister for Foreign Trade Al Zeyoudi elected as chair of WTO’s Ministerial Conference

The gathering of 164 countries and blocs will be held in Abu Dhabi in February

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has been elected as the chair of the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference that will be held in Abu Dhabi in February.

The announcement was made during the WTO general council in Geneva, where Dr Al Zeyoudi met with the WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The conference will be attended by representatives from the 164 countries and customs blocs that make up the WTO.

It will review the performance of the trading system, make decisions on future work and set up the road map for the next conference, an official statement said on Monday.

“This is a pivotal moment for world trade … we have to tackle pressing issues and challenges, consider all the forces shaping the future of trade and come up with clear solutions, and challenge ourselves to take actionable decisions that move the needle on making trade more efficient, inclusive and sustainable,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

Dr Al Zeyoudi also delivered his first address as the chair at the WTO general council, where he emphasised the importance of building resilient trade frameworks.

“Trade policy extends far beyond the scope of trade itself … it is about shaping our common future,” he said.

“It is our collective responsibility to contribute to a predictable, rules-based, and open trade and investment environment that creates prosperity for all – and this is precisely why the success of MC13 is so imperative.”

International trade will also receive special focus at the Cop28 summit in Dubai later this year. A dedicated day will focus on trade – a first for the climate summit – under the UAE’s Cop28 presidency.

It will highlight trade's role as an enabler of climate-smart growth, including supply-chain resilience, the Ministry of Economy said last week.

Six months to Cop28: Here's what to expect at the climate summit in Dubai

Six months to Cop28: Here's what to expect at the climate summit in Dubai

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade surged 17 per cent to reach a record Dh2.23 trillion ($607.1 billion) last year amid the country's economic diversification efforts.

The Arab world’s second largest economy is also forging new deals with various countries globally through Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements.

Updated: July 24, 2023, 4:34 PM