Foreign Trade Min. to take part in WTO Public Forum

WAM ABU DHABI: Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi will discuss the valuable role of multilateralism in sustaining a productive global economy at the opening day of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum taking place from September 24 to 26, 2012 at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva. The Minister will also touch on the main challenges facing multilateralism, including the implications of the current economic downturn.

The WTO Public Forum gathers government and private organizations, academics, businesses and students from around the world to engage in spirited discussions on important issues regarding the multilateral trading system. This year’s edition will mark the debut of the WTO Public Forum debate, which will provide participants the opportunity to assess if multilateralism has entered into a state of crisis.

Al Qasimi will participate in the Forum’s inaugural debate, which will be held in the presence of Pascal Lamy, the WTO’s Director-General; Micheline Calmy-Rey, former President of Switzerland; Chilean Senator Ricardo Lagos; and Nicholas Staheyeff, Vice President, Chairman, CEO and CFO of eBay International AG.

“Multilateralism has helped the world achieve great levels of prosperity. It is therefore important that we keep the fire of this trading paradigm alive amidst these trying times. The WTO Public Forum is an important platform for nations around the world to unite and improve our efforts to further open up trade. It will also be an opportunity for us to showcase the UAE’s own achievements in using trade as a vehicle for economic and social development. We will take our time under the spotlight to encourage member states of the WTO to get the Doha negotiations back on track as well,” Director of the UAE Office to the WTO in Geneva Badir Al Musharrekh said.

Aside from multilateralism issues, the upcoming Forum will be a venue for the WTO and its members to assess all aspects of the organization’s work and functions and push for greater cooperation in all areas of global governance.

The UAE became a WTO member in 1996 and is now one of its most active supporters in promoting multilateralism and discouraging protectionism. At the conclusion of the WTO’s 2nd Trade Policy Review of the UAE in April 2012, WTO members praised the UAE for its exceptional efforts to transform itself into a knowledge-based, diversified economy. The WTO also ranks the UAE among the top 30 trading nations in the world.