Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said that mobilising global efforts to achieve sustainability of supply chains through digitisation and adoption of advanced technologies is no longer a luxury, but a key factor in overcoming climate challenges. Studies by the World Bank indicate that global trade generates up to 25% of total carbon emissions worldwide.
In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), launched the "Trade Tech Initiative" in partnership with the World Economic Forum.
The initiative is designed to accelerate the digitisation of international supply chains, enhance customs procedures, improve developing countries' access to the global trading system and spur a new era of trade growth.
The Trade Tech Initiative is a crucial step in modernising global trade, using the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to reduce the cumbersome and inefficient paper-based processes that continue to dominate supply chains.
On the future of green trade and its impact on the sustainability of global supply chains, Al Zeyoudi said that green trade, which is characterised by the exchange of environmentally friendly goods and services, is considered a major driver for promoting a more sustainable and resilient global economy.
On the role of e-commerce in reducing carbon emissions, Al Zeyoudi said that e-commerce is experiencing rapid growth in line with the technological revolution that the world is witnessing.
The e-commerce market continues to grow rapidly, and its share of the total volume of international trade is increasing significantly. This growth in digital trade has a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions, as studies have found that traditional shopping has twice the carbon footprint compared to online shopping.
He pointed to the importance of taking these changes into account when discussing ways to reshape the future of global trade, which is what the UAE is working to achieve by hosting the 13th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) in the capital, Abu Dhabi, in February next year. This is one of many other important issues that the world relies on reaching an agreement on to reshape the global trade system and accelerate technological developments.
Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE, as a hub for global trade, is also witnessing growth in e-commerce. Some estimates indicate that the UAE e-commerce market is expected to reach $9.2 billion by 2026.
He mentioned that on the COP28 Trade Day, the Ministry of Economy launched a report entitled "Exploring the Green Horizon", which provides key insights into the intersections of trade with the global sustainability movement.
On the UAE's contribution to global supply chains, Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE is continuing to strengthen its global stature as a global logistics hub and gateway to facilitate the movement, flexibility, and efficiency of global supply chains, thanks to its strategic position at the heart of global trade, and its gateway to the flow of goods, commodities, and services from and to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Al Zeyoudi added that the UAE is a global Centre for many basic commodities. It enjoys a central position in global supply chains, with 2.4% of the total sea container trade passing through the UAE, making it a global centre for supply chains.
On the discussions about the future of trade at COP28, Al Zeyoudi said that for the first time in the history of COPs, trade was included in the official agenda of this important event.
He added that "Trade Day" aimed to explore mechanisms for the contribution of global trade to reducing carbon emissions, pointing to the importance of this event as it is held ahead of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, which will review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and to take action on the future work of the WTO.