KTFA – ARAB PERSPECTIVES ON WTO ACCESSIONS AND THE MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM

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ACCESSIONS

12th China Round Table on WTO Accessions

ARAB PERSPECTIVES ON WTO ACCESSIONS AND THE MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM

 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Hall 10, Room B – In-Person

23 FEB 2024  24 FEB 2024

The 12th China Round Table (CRT-12) will take place on 24-25 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the margins of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13). This is the first Round Table organized in the Arab region. The focus of this Round Table will be Arab Perspectives on WTO Accessions and the Multilateral Trading System.

The Arab region is one of the most under-represented in the WTO. Of the 22 members of the Arab League, only 13 are WTO Members and nine are observers of different types. Out of the 13 Members, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen joined the WTO through the accession process pursuant to Article XII of the Agreement Establishing the WTO (the Marrakesh Agreement) between 2000 and 2014.

Today, Algeria, Comoros, Iraq, Lebanese Republic, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic are in the process of Article XII accession, while Palestine has had an ad hoc observer status in the WTO Ministerial Conferences since 2005

 The eight Arab acceding governments have been pursuing accession, on average, for approximately 20 years, with some of the accession processes being inactive for a long time. Together with Timor‑Leste, Comoros is a candidate to join the WTO at MC13. 

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala highlighted during the 2nd High-Level Regional Dialogue on WTO Accessions for the Arab Region: “With several Arab acceding governments expected to step up engagement at the WTO this year, especially in the case of Comoros, we should step up our joint efforts to support them. 

One potentially useful point of action could be to put together a study detailing the accession and post-accession experiences of Article XII members from the region.

This could serve as a guide for Arab countries working to revive their accession negotiations and would yield insights for how best the international community could support Arab accessions or Arab countries’ participation in the WTO more generally.” Commenting on the Trade for Peace programme, the Director-General noted that “The Trade for Peace agenda has brought to light how reforms associated with the WTO accession process can help Arab countries build resilience and foster prosperity, peace and stability.”

OPENING

Opening Ceremony
09:30-10:00

 Abu Dhabi

Moderator

Ms. Maika Oshikawa

Director, Accessions Division, World Trade Organization

Opening remarks

H.E. Mr. Juma Al Kait

Assistant Undersecretary for International Trade Affairs, Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates

Opening remarks

H.E. Ambassador LI Chenggang

Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the World Trade Organization

Opening remarks

Mr. ZHANG Xiangchen

Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization

SESSION 1: Best Practices in WTO Accessions for Arab Region: Lessons from Past and On-going accessions in the region
10:30-12:30

 Abu Dhabi

“Best Practices in WTO Accessions for Arab Countries: Lessons from Past and On-going Accessions” is a joint study with the collaboration of four partner organizations (WTO, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Center for Development of Trade). The study aims at providing factual accounts of past and on-going Arab accessions, as well as the post-accession performance of Article XII Arab Members, including their participation in the WTO. This session will present the main findings and recommendations of the Joint Arab Study for WTO Accessions. This will be followed by an open discussion among participants.

Moderator

Dr. Mena Hassan

Economic Affairs Officer, Accessions Division, World Trade Organization

Speaker

Representatives from Arab acceding governments: Algeria, Comoros, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and MC13 Observer:Palestine

Speaker

Representatives from Arab Article XII Members: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen

Speaker

Dr. Linda F. Kassem

International Trade Lawyer & Public Policy Consultant

Speaker

Mr. Stephen Karingi

Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

DAY 2

High-Level Session: Arab Perspectives on WTO Accessions and the Multilateral Trading System

09:30-11:00

 Abu Dhabi

This high-level session will draw from the experiences of original WTO and Article XII Arab Members to discuss the benefits of WTO membership and help better equip Arab acceding governments to navigate the accession process. The session will also highlight the importance of trade in Arab economies including how to best utilize WTO membership to ensure economic policy coherence.

Moderator

Dr. Mena Hassan

Economic Affairs Officer, Accessions Division, World Trade Organization

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Mohammed A.M. Haweg

Minister of Economy and Trade, State of Libya

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Amin Salam

Minister of Economy, Lebanese Republic

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Atheer Al-Ghurairi

Minister of Trade, Republic of Iraq (TBC)

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Ryad Mezzour

Minister of Industry and Trade, Kingdom of Morocco (TBC)

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Mohamed AL-Ashwal

Minister of Industry and Trade, Republic of Yemen

Speaker

Mr. Azizbek Urunov

Special Representative of the President on WTO Issues, Chief Negotiator, Republic of Uzbekistan

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Tomislav Momirović

Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade, Republic of Serbia

Speaker

H.E. Mr. Ramesh Rizal

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies, F.D.R. of Nepal

https://www.wto.org/english/th…..2409_e.htm

RMF: Iraq, is in the process of Article XII accession ! Back in the old days the scuttlebutt was that shortly after getting out of Article 8 and into Article 7 we would soon see what we were looking for.  This is very exciting IMO.   

Clare:  WTO ANALYTICAL INDEX WTO Agreement – Article XII (Practice)

https://www.wto.org/english/re…..12_oth.pdf