Al Mansouri chairs meeting of National Committee for WTO

DUBAI: The National Committee for World Trade Organisation on Monday met at the Ministry of Economy in Dubai to review the outcomes of the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013, and the WTO members’ negotiations on a trade facilitation agreement (TFA).

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, in his remarks as he chaired the committee’s meeting, emphasised that maximising the benefits of the multilateral trade system was a top priority for the UAE.

He also emphasised that the UAE also prioritises trade as a source of positive impact on the whole region.

Al Mansouri also noted that in the past decade, the developing countries, including the UAE, increased their participation in, and contribution to international trade and to global value chains and increasing commodity prices as shown by the 2014 World Trade Report in which the UAE has advanced to the 16th place globally, in terms of exports and the 20th place in terms of imports.

Minister Al Mansouri said the WTO will make a review of the UAE economy in June 2016, which requires joint national efforts to help make the report on the review reflect the positive image of the UAE in terms of trade.

In December 2013, WTO members concluded negotiations on a Trade Facilitation Agreement at the Bali Ministerial Conference, as part of a wider “Bali Package”. Since then, WTO members have undertaken a legal review of the text. In line with the decision adopted in Bali, WTO members adopted on 27 November 2014 a Protocol of Amendment to insert the new Agreement into Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement. The Trade Facilitation Agreement will enter into force once two-thirds of members have completed their domestic ratification process.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.