DUBAI: The UAE and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today chaired a Mini-ministerial meeting on Agriculture in preparation for the 13th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) from 26th to 29th February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.
Co-chaired by Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the WTO, the virtual meeting brought together a representative group of Ministers from member countries to consider how to move forward negotiations in agriculture, a key priority for all 164 WTO members.
Ministers discussed the growing urgency to reform agricultural trade to better address rising food insecurity and the challenges confronting agriculture, including the impact of climate change and meeting the nutritional needs of an increasing global population.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, "This was a positive meeting that took stock of progress on agriculture negotiations as the 13th Ministerial Conference approaches. We looked at advancing negotiations in this area and examined where we may find the compromises needed to unlock solutions. The discussion provided a significant platform for our future work and was an encouraging indication of high-level commitment. The Ministerial Conference is less than three months away and we must seize every opportunity to build the consensus needed to make it a success."
WTO Director-General said, "I'm hopeful that the exercise of flexibility, where appropriate, will enable us to reach outcomes [at MC13] that would eventually constitute a meaningful step towards strengthening the multilateral trading system. More importantly, these steps would allow agriculture to address the contemporary challenges we face today."
MC13 will be chaired by Dr. Al Zeyoudi in Abu Dhabi. It will bring together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions, to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and to take action on the future work of the WTO. The Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the WTO and can make decisions on all matters under multilateral trade agreements.