ABU DHABI: The 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) commenced in Abu Dhabi on Monday, with the participation of trade ministers and senior officials from around the world.

This four-day event brings together ministers and senior officials worldwide to discuss international trade rules and regulations.

The gathering of 175 Member States, private sector leaders, NGOs, and civil society representatives will allow the global community to work together toward advancing a more efficient, sustainable, and inclusive trading system.

Ministerial Conferences are the highest decision-making body of the WTO and serve as crucial forums for member states to address trade challenges, refine trade rules, and set the agenda for global trade policy.

Building upon the advancements of MC12 held in Geneva in June 2022, where significant strides were made in areas such as fisheries subsidies, food security, and e-commerce, MC13 will focus on enhancing the access of developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to the global trading system, intellectual property, and WTO dispute resolution mechanisms.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to explore greater collaboration and partnership with non-governmental organisations, the private sector, and civil society to enhance the effectiveness of trade policies and programmes via a series of side events.

These include the TradeTech Global Forum, promoting the use of technology in global supply chains, and sessions on trade facilitation in partnership with Etihad Credit Insurance, trade finance with HSBC, SMEs with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), the WLP Logistics Challenges with DP World, Future of Cargo in collaboration with Emirates, and Sustainable Trade Africa.

Established in 1995, the WTO oversees international trade rules. Its biannual Ministerial Conference stands as its paramount decision-making forum, convening ministers and senior officials from all member states to review and update regulations shaping the global trading landscape.