The UAE is gearing up to host the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Abu Dhabi between February 26-29, a pivotal event that brings together ministers and senior officials from around the world for discussions on the rules and regulations governing international trade. The gathering of 164 Member States along with private sector leaders, NGOs and representatives of civil society will provide an opportunity for the global community to work together towards advancing a more efficient, sustainable, and inclusive trading system.

Ministerial Conferences are the highest decision-making body of the WTO and serve as crucial forums for the 164 Member States to address trade challenges, refine trade rules and set the agenda for global trade policy. The 13th Ministerial Conference is set to build on progress achieved during MC12, held in Geneva in June 2022, which made substantive breakthroughs on fisheries subsidies, food insecurity and e-commerce. Focus areas will include improving the ability of developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to access the global trading system, intellectual property, and WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism.

The forum will also provide an opportunity to explore greater collaboration and partnership with non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enhance the effectiveness of trade policies and programs via a series of side events. These include the TradeTech Global Forum, which will promote the use of technology in global supply chains, and sessions on trade facilitation in partnership with Etihad Credit Insurance, trade finance with HSBC, SMEs with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), the WLP Logistics Challenges with DP World, Future of Cargo in collaboration with Emirates, and Sustainable Trade Africa.

HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade and Chair of the MC13, emphasized the significance of the upcoming Ministerial Conference, stating, “A robust and inclusive multilateral trading system is essential for fostering economic growth, creating jobs, and raising living standards. At MC13, Ministers and Senior Officials around the world can help ensure that global trade lives up to this promise by reviewing and refining its rules, confronting issues that prevent the free flow of goods and services, and supporting the needs of every nation that wishes to benefit from the multilateral trading system. We look forward to welcoming all the MC13 participants to Abu Dhabi and providing a platform conducive to positive, collaborative discussions on the future of trade.”

His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADDED, said: “We look forward to welcoming the international trade leaders and shapers to tackle the pressing issues and devise innovative solutions to current and future challenges. Hosting the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by Abu Dhabi underlines its credentials as a global hub”. “Trade and the exchange of goods, services, and innovations with the rest of the world are integral part of Abu Dhabi’s history and modern progress. Fair and free trade will also be central to our future as we cement our position as preferred hub for talents, businesses, investments, and a key node on international supply chains. As host of MC13, we are offering our support to ensure a successful conference that enables the global trading system to uplift economies and enrich lives.”

Formed in 1995, the World Trade Organization is the international body that supervises the rules of international trade. Its biannual Ministerial Conference is considered its topmost decision-making forum, bringing together ministers and senior officials from all member states with the aim of reviewing and updating rules that shape the global trading system.

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