H.E. Mr. Sultan bin Rashid Al Khater, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, participated in a virtual round table meeting that brought together trade Ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) along with H.E. Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The meeting falls within the framework of discussions and preparations for the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, which is scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates during the first quarter of 2024. The meeting touched on the active role that GCC members can play to ensure the success of the conference and efforts to deliver on its objectives.
In his opening remarks, H.E. voiced hope that the meeting would lay the foundations for cooperation and integration between GCC nations and the WTO. Pointing out both the challenges and obstacles that hinder international trade and to find effective solutions through creative initiatives that cater to the economic aspirations of participating countries.
H.E. also welcomed the positive outcomes of the 12th Ministerial Conference particularly when it comes to fisheries subsidies, trade, health, and food security. He noted that these positive developments emphasize the WTO’s role as the cornerstone of the global trading system.
Qatar stands in full support of efforts aimed at activating the WTO agreement. The fisheries subsidies are in line with the first goal specified in the SDGs in terms of supporting the fisheries sector as an important source of food security in the GCC region, said H.E. Mr. Al Khater. He also stressed the need to provide developing countries with this opportunity to grow and flourish in this sector to further support their economies.
The round table meeting touched on three main issues including the WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies, the contribution of GCC countries to the agreement’s support fund, and the aspirations of member states with regards to the 13th Ministerial Conference.
In his closing remarks, H.E. was optimistic that the upcoming Ministerial Conference will result in concrete outcomes on the issues that were discussed, such as e-commerce, investment facilitation and other areas of interest to the WTO.