Abu Dhabi: H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, led the UAE delegation at the Arab League Economic and Social Council meeting, which took place yesterday May 15, 2023, in Riyadh, KSA, ahead of the 32nd Arab League Summit scheduled to be held on May 19.
H.E. Bin Touq said: “The strengthening of cooperation at the Arab level is a priority that falls in line with the UAE's firm commitment to ensuring the interests of Arab peoples. The UAE will continue working towards enhancing their economic and social stability and well-being in a sustainable manner, in implementation of our wise leadership’s directives.”
The Minister of Economy added: “We are keen to strengthen the economic integration frameworks among Arab nations and adopt more open and accommodating policies including the establishment of a single customs union. It will help boost exports imports movement and drive trade exchanges among Arab countries within the framework of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA). It aims to stimulate joint investment ventures that can create thousands of jobs that support the growth and sustainability of Arab economies.”
“The Arab region boasts a strategic geographic location, at the heart of global trade movement, and serves as a vital gateway connecting the East and the West. The region facilitates seamless global supply chain movement and the UAE government has effectively capitalized on this feature to strengthen the country’s economic position regionally and internationally. We continue to support efforts aimed at shaping the future of global trade through hosting highly relevant forums. For instance, the World Investment Forum organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), will be held in Abu Dhabi in October 2023, and will focus on increasing investment in development. The upcoming 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in the first quarter of 2024, to be held in the presence of ministers and senior officials from 164 member countries of the World Trade Organization, is yet another example.” H.E. added.
H.E. Bin Touq said: “The agenda of the latest Arab Economic and Social Council meeting covers several priority topics and is set to significantly enhance cooperation at the Arab level. We affirm the UAE’s support for the materialization of the Arab transport agreements, the Arab strategy for communications and information, and the Arab Digital Agenda 2023-2033. These strategies align with the UAE’s vision and plans and are major pillars of the future economy in the wider Arab region as well.”
Furthermore, H.E. underlined the Council’s importance in supporting joint Arab action and promoting sustainable development in the region through the adoption of innovative initiatives and legislation. He then reiterated the UAE’s support to all outcomes of the Council meeting that will enhance coordination and constructive cooperation. The minister also pointed out that the challenges stemming from the current geopolitical changes on the global economic landscape - especially supply chains, inflation rates, and the possibility of a recession - present new opportunities to enhance Arab economic integration.
Emphasizing the UAE's readiness to intensify cooperation and exchange experiences with fellow Arab countries, H.E. Bin Touq highlighted the need to develop joint efforts to accelerate Arab economies’ development on various social and development fronts.
The meeting discussed topics that will be submitted to the meeting of Arab leaders at the upcoming Arab Summit. These include developments in Arab cooperation, developments in the Arab Customs Union formation, requirements of GAFTA and mechanisms for the implementation of the Arab tourism strategy.
The Economic and Social Council of the Arab League welcomed the UAE's impending hosting of the 8th World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi from October 16 to 20, 2023. In addition, the Council called on Arab countries and investment and financing funds to participate in this forum, as it is the most important international platform for exchanging investment policies and global experiences in the field.
The non-oil trade exchanges between the UAE and the rest of the Arab world amounted to USD 111.5 billion in 2021, up 23.8 per cent from 2020 and 11.5 per cent from 2019.