HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister for Foreign Trade, elected as Chair of WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference

The General Council of the WTO has elected HE Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy, as Chair of the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) today. The Ministerial Conference, attended by leading representatives from the 164 countries and customs blocs that make up the WTO, will take place in Abu Dhabi in February 2024.

MC13 comes at a critical time for world trade, and the conference will build on the outcomes of MC12, review the performance of the multilateral trading system, make decisions on the future work of the WTO, and set up the roadmap for MC14.

“This is a pivotal moment for world trade,” commented His Excellency. “As a Ministerial Conference, we have to tackle pressing issues and challenges, consider all the forces shaping the future of trade and come up with clear solutions, and challenge ourselves to take actionable decisions that move the needle on making trade more efficient, inclusive and sustainable.

“At the heart of all of this is the need to modernize trade and embed technology across supply chains, and we look forward to working closely with all the members of the WTO to make real progress at MC13. Our goal must be driving forward momentum for more change at the conference in Abu Dhabi next year, but also in the years to come, and I have the utmost confidence in our collective ability to make this happen.”

The announcement was made during the WTO General Council in Geneva, Switzerland, where His Excellency met with the WTO Director General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. During their meeting they discussed the preparations for MC13, in addition to the landmark inclusion of trade as a thematic day at COP28, which is set to take place in Dubai later this year.

HE Dr. Thani delivered his first address as Chair at the General Council, where he stressed the importance of building resilient trade frameworks to tackle today’s challenging landscape. In his address he called for focused and decisive deliberations amongst WTO members ahead of MC13, and commented: “Trade policy extends far beyond the scope of trade itself; it is about shaping our common future. It is our collective responsibility to contribute to a predictable, rules-based, and open trade and investment environment that creates prosperity for all – and this is precisely why the success of MC13 is so imperative.”