Both the United Arab Emirates and Cameroon put forward offers to host MC13. Following consultations led by Swiss Ambassador Didier Chambovey, the chair of the General Council, the UAE and Cameroon reached an amicable agreement to host the 13th and 14th Ministerial Conferences respectively.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala thanked the UAE and Cameroon for the “partnership, pragmatism, and flexibility they exhibited in trying to get together and agree on a mutually acceptable outcome. They provide an example to all of us as we work to move this organization forward.”
“The fact that two members offered to host the Ministerial Conference is a sign of good health for this organization. And the membership has demonstrated the value they attach to multilateralism and global solidarity by taking this important decision today,” she said.
“The race is on, the countdown has begun,” she added. “We must now intensify our efforts so as to be on track to deliver meaningful outcomes, set up effective processes for others and put in place frameworks that will enable us to make significant progress in the various areas of work.”
The UAE's WTO Ambassador Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Jarman proposed that MC13 take place the week of 26 February 2024. Addressing the General Council, he said his country is aware of the amount of work ahead.
“The UAE stands ready to make the necessary contribution to the ongoing efforts with a view to making international trade part of the solution, shedding more light on the expertise of the WTO and highlighting the role of the multilateral trading system,” he stated. “The government of the United Arab Emirates will do its utmost to ensure that all WTO members have the opportunity to advance the ongoing discussions and to take part in shaping outcomes for the benefit of all nations.”
Ambassador Eheth Salomon of Cameroon stressed that his country's proposal to host MC14 “is the manifestation of its constant commitment to trade multilateralism development, and the full and effective integration of our country and the African continent in trade and the global economy.”
“We reaffirm our commitment and our determination to work with all the stakeholders of our organization for the total success of this event in Cameroon. We are convinced that MC14 on African soil — the cradle of the WTO — will be in line with the dynamics initiated at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12),” he said.
The Ministerial Conference, which is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization’s 164 members, is the highest decision-making body of the WTO. Under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO, the Ministerial Conference is to meet at least once every two years.
The last Ministerial Conference took place in Geneva, in June 2022.
More information on the Ministerial Conferences is available here.
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