Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov commended the United Arab Emirates for its successful organisation of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (MC13).

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the conference, Reshetnikov acknowledged the UAE's significant contribution in bringing key issues to the forefront, particularly during a challenging time marked by numerous internal contradictions within the global trade system.

He emphasised the importance of a functioning dispute settlement system, highlighting that its absence weakens the entire trade system built over decades and renders the established rules unenforceable.

Reshetnikov expressed concern, particularly for developing nations, regarding the current impasse and the need for concerted efforts from global trade leaders to overcome these obstacles.

The Minister highlighted several positive developments, including the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement, which aims to create a more supportive environment for investors. He described it as a "very positive step".

He also commended the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, which tackles illegal fishing, a practice that harms the ocean's biopotential and depletes resources.

"While we embrace competitiveness, the key principle must be the sustainable and responsible use of biological resources, ensuring their long-term availability," the Minister emphasised.

The Minister further addressed the climate agenda discussed at the conference, acknowledging concerns from some countries regarding potential protectionist barriers being disguised as climate action.

He pointed out that valuable resources could be allocated more strategically, including towards adaptation efforts in response to climate change.

"Unfortunately, the existing level of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to further warming. We must be prepared, adapt, and find a smart way to balance mitigation and adaptation efforts," the Minister stated.

He commended the exceptional work done by the UAE as the host of COP28, reiterating its continued importance in the context of the Ministerial conference.

"We are striving to find a fair balance between these competing priorities, ensuring the interests of all countries are protected and considered," concluded the Minister.

The Minister expressed his pride in the strong relationship between the UAE and the Russian Federation. He highlighted the significant growth in bilateral trade, stating that it "has increased fivefold in the past five years, exceeding $10 billion last year, with both exports and imports steadily growing".

He emphasised that the partnership is built on mutual respect and understanding of economic interests, further demonstrating its resilience during recent challenges. Reshetnikov then outlined exciting prospects for future collaboration, particularly in industrial cooperation within Emirati special economic zones, where Russian companies see opportunities to establish operations.

He pointed to the UAE's significant potential in the transport sector, acknowledging the potential of various trade routes, including the Northern Sea Route, the Suez Canal, and the route around Africa. He elaborated on the Russian Federation's significant investments in developing the Northern Sea Route, including icebreaking technology, security infrastructure, satellite surveillance, and port development.

The Minister outlined the advantages of the UAE for Russian businesses, highlighting the legal protections, the welcoming environment, and the country's independent foreign policy. He emphasised these aspects as valuable for Russian investors, stating, "We see here the protection by laws, a friendly attitude, and real sovereignty, which is very important for us."

Reshetnikov confirmed the readiness of Russian businesses to invest further in the UAE, mentioning a substantial portfolio of potential projects. He noted the success of collaborative efforts, such as the certification of halal Russian products, including grain, meat, and dairy, which “opens access to high-quality, delicious, and safe Russian products”. He concluded by stating, "The successful synchronisation of our systems and the recognition of Russian certificates, leading to ongoing deliveries, are a testament to the hard work invested in our partnership last year.