In a significant development, two prominent officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been elected to key positions in international organizations. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, has been chosen as the chair of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2024.
Additionally, Thuraiya Hamid Alhashmi, the Director of International Financial Relations and Organizations Department at the UAE Ministry of Finance, has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors and a Constituency Director at the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral development institution established by BRICS countries.
Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi Elected Chair of WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference:
- In a remarkable achievement for the UAE, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi has been elected as the chair of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. The announcement was made during the WTO General Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The conference, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi in February 2024, will be attended by representatives from all 164 member countries and customs blocs that form the WTO. As the chair, Dr. Al Zeyoudi will play a crucial role in leading discussions, reviewing the performance of the global trading system, and setting the roadmap for future work within the organization.
Thuraiya Hamid Alhashmi’s Historic Role at NDB:
- Thuraiya Hamid Alhashmi, the Director of International Financial Relations and Organizations Department at the UAE Ministry of Finance, has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Emirati and Arab woman to assume a Director’s position at the New Development Bank (NDB).
- The NDB, established by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), plays a vital role in financing sustainable development projects in emerging economies. Thuraiya’s election to the Board of Directors and as a Constituency Director during the 8th Annual Meeting held in Shanghai, China, marks a significant recognition of her expertise and leadership in international finance and development.
UAE’s Commitment to International Cooperation:
- The election of two UAE officials to prominent positions in global organizations highlights the country’s commitment to international cooperation and its growing influence on the global stage.
- These appointments not only reflect the capabilities of UAE’s talented professionals but also demonstrate the country’s dedication to promoting inclusive and sustainable development in the international arena.
Preparations for the 13th Ministerial Conference and COP28:
- During his meeting with WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi discussed the preparations for the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi. The conference aims to review the trading system’s performance, make crucial decisions on future work, and set the course for the subsequent conference.
- Additionally, they also addressed the landmark inclusion of trade as a thematic day at COP28, scheduled to be held in Dubai later that year. This move underscores the UAE’s efforts to integrate trade and climate policies to foster sustainable and green growth.
World Trade Organization (WTO) – Key Points:
Purpose: The WTO is an international organization that deals with global rules of trade between nations. It facilitates trade negotiations, resolves disputes, and sets the framework for international trade.
- Establishment: The WTO was established on January 1, 1995, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which had been in place since 1948.
- Membership: It has 164 member countries and customs territories, making it one of the largest international organizations.
- Principles: The WTO operates on the principles of non-discrimination, transparency, predictability, and promoting fair competition.
- Agreements: The organization oversees multiple trade agreements, including the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
- Dispute Settlement: The WTO has a Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that resolves trade disputes between member countries through a structured dispute resolution process.
- Director General: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the current Director General of the WTO. She assumed office on March 1, 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to hold this position.
- Ministerial Conferences: Ministerial Conferences are held every two years, where members make decisions on trade-related issues and set the organization’s agenda.
Trade Facilitation Agreement: The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement aims to simplify and streamline customs procedures to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods.