The Director-General said: “At a moment of enormous political and economic uncertainty, MC13 offers WTO members an opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for people everywhere, and for the planet.” She thanked parliamentarians and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for their support for the ratification of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and said further backing can help to secure the remaining ratifications needed for the Agreement to enter into force.

The WTO is looking forward to “deepening relations with parliaments and MPs across the globe to help strengthen the multilateral trading system and ensure that the WTO keeps delivering for the people all of us are here to serve,” she added.

Speaking at the opening session of the conference, H.E. Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council, welcomed participants to the United Arab Emirates, “the land of coexistence, tolerance and peace, which hosts you today in an effort to strengthen the global trading system and confirm its support for comprehensive and sustainable economic development”.

H.E. Minister Thani Al Zeyoudi, MC13 Chair, said the Parliamentary Conference is a testimony of legislators' engagement. “Since the conference is taking place on the eve of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, the conversations and deliberations will help inform the negotiations taking place over the next three days,” he added.

Mr Bernd Lange, Chair of the International Trade Committee at the European Parliament, said MC13 comes at a crucial time for global trade. WTO reform is very important “as 75% of world trade is conducted on the basis of WTO rules so we need to further strengthen it and change it from within,” he continued.

Mr Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, highlighted the importance of WTO reform, noting that “we will gain much by revitalizing our common organization, if only for the noble cause it defends: global trade that puts people back at the centre of its actions”.

H.E. Ambassador Athaliah Molokomme, Chair of the WTO General Council, stressed the importance of parliamentary engagement and support for MC13 deliberations. “Parliamentary involvement and oversight directly contributes — at the national, regional and international level — to the legitimacy and accountability of decisions taken multilaterally by governments,” she added.

The Parliamentary Conference on the WTO is a joint annual event of the IPU and the European Parliament held whenever possible alongside WTO ministerial conferences. Approximately 300 MPs are attending the event in Abu Dhabi.




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