accessions

High-Level Regional Dialogue on WTO Accessions for the Arab Region

Arab Perspectives on WTO Accessions and the Multilateral Trading System

Virtual event (Arabic interpretation provided)

Introduction

The High-Level Regional Dialogue on WTO Accessions for Arab countries will take place from 8 to 10 November 2020.  The activity is organized by the WTO Secretariat, in partnership with the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The activity, which takes place virtually via Zoom, will focus on "Arab Perspectives on WTO Accessions and the Multilateral Trading System".

The Arab region comprises eight acceding governments (Algeria, Comoros, Iraq, Lebanese Republic, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syrian Arab Republic), accounting for more than one third of on-going WTO accessions. Four Arab countries (the Kingdom of Jordan, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen) have acceded to the WTO since its establishment in 1995.

The High-Level Regional Dialogue is organized in direct response to the increasing interest from Members and Arab Observers to advance the ongoing accession processes in the region.  Specific objectives of the activity are:    

  1. To increase participants’ knowledge of the WTO accession process, accession-related rules, and the state-of-play of Arab accessions;
  2. To facilitate acceding governments and Article XII members to share experiences and lessons learned from the accession process;
  3. To identify and mobilize technical assistance support to facilitate and accelerate ongoing Arab accessions in collaboration with development partners.

On 9 November, there will be a special event (Session 4) to commemorate Oman's 20th anniversary of WTO membership.

English and Arabic interpretation is provided for the entire duration of the High-Level Dialogue.

DAY 1: Sunday, 8 NOVEMBER 2020

11:00-11:30 CET / 14:00-14:30 GST

High-level Opening Session

Moderator:

  • Ms. Maika Oshikawa, Director, Accessions Division, WTO

Speakers:

  • Welcoming Remarks by H.E. Dr Abdulrahman A. Al Hamidy,  Director General Chairman of the Board, AMF
  • Remarks by Ambassador Alan Wolff, Deputy Director-General, WTO
    Speech
  • Remarks by Eng. Mohammad Jamal Alsaati, Director General, Regional Hub and Center of Excellence of Dubai, IsDB

11:30-12:15 CET / 14:30-15:15 GST

Session 1: WTO Accession Fundamentals and State of Play: Overview and Procedures

Speakers:

  • Ms. Mena Hassan, Legal/Economic Affairs Officer, Accessions Division, WTO
    Presentation

Objectives: to increase participantsí knowledge of the WTO accession process and accession-related rules; and to update the participants on the state-of-play

12:15-12:30 CET / 15:15-15:30 GST - Short Break

12:30-14:00 CET / 15:30-17:00 GST

Session 2: Economic Performance of WTO Arab countries: Economic Diversification and Structural Reform in Post COVID-19 Pandemic Era

Speakers:

  • Dr Heba Abdel Monem, Chief, Studies & Statistics Division, AMF
    Presentation
  • Dr Mohamed Ismail. Economist, AMF
    Presentation
  • Dr Imed Drine, Lead Economist (MENA and Europe), Country Strategy and Cooperation Department, IsDB
    Presentation
  • Dr Bassem Haikal, Country Economist, Country Strategy and Cooperation Department, IsDB
    Presentation

Objectives: to share with participants recent developments in Arab economies and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DAY 2: Monday, 9 NOVEMBER 2020

11:00-12:15 CET / 14:00-15:15 GST

Session 3: Round Table Discussion on "Experience sharing and Lessons Learned from WTO Accession"

Moderator:

  • Ms. Maika Oshikawa, Director, Accessions Division, WTO
    Presentation

Speakers

  • Ms Nidhal Sebri, Director, Ministry of Trade, Iraq
  • Dr. Linda Qassem, Lebanonís Accession to WTO Coordinator, Ministry of Economy and Trade
  • Mr. Sharmarke Abdi Jama, Senior Trade Advisor, Ministry of Trade, Somalia
  • Ambassador Ali Ibn Abi Talib Abdelrahman Mahmoud, Permanent Representative of Sudan to the UN
  • Mr. Mohammed Hmaidan, Ministry of National Economy, Palestine

Article XII Members:

  • Mr. Zaher Al-Qatarneh, Assistant Secretary General Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, Kingdom of Jordan
  • Mr. Khalid Al-Habsi, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment, Sultanate of Oman

Objectives: Experience sharing session between Acceding Governments and Article XII Members.

12:15-12:30 CET / 15:15-15:30 GST - Short Break

13:00-14:30 CET / 16:00-17:30 GST

Session 4: Commemorating Omanís 20th anniversary of WTO Membership

Moderator:

  • Ms. Hilda Ali Al-Hinai, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the WTO, Permanent Mission of Oman to the UN and other international organizations  

Speakers:

  • H.E. Qais bin Mohammed Al- Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, Sultanate of Oman (video message) (TBC)
  • H.E. Maqbool Ali Sultan, Former Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chief Negotiator of Oman's accession to the WTO (video message)
  • Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York and Former Chairman of the Working Party of Oman's Accession to the WTO
  • Ambassador Peter Allgeier, Former US Deputy Trade Representative
    Statement
  • Mr. Arif Hussain, Former Director of the Accessions Division, WTO

Objectives: to commemorate Oman's 20th Anniversary of WTO Membership and share experiences with other Article XII Members and Acceding Governments

DAY 3: Tuesday, 10 NOVEMBER 2020

11:00-12:30 CET / 14:00-15:30 GST

Session 5: Identification of Technical Assistance and Support for Arab Acceding Governments

BIENNIAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING PLAN 2020 - 2021

Moderator:

  • Mr. Samer Seif el Yazal, Head of the Arab and CEECAC Regional Desk, ITTC, WTO
    Presentation

Speakers:

  • Ms. Miho Shirotori, Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
    Presentation
  • Dr. Mohammad Saeed, Senior Trade Facilitation Adviser, Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Presentation
  • Mr. Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework
  • Dr Jaalelddine Ben Regeb, Director, Economic Department, AMF
    Presentation
  • Dr Imed Drine, Lead Economist (MENA And Europe), Country Strategy and Cooperation Department, IsDB
  • Mr. Nazar Diab, Senior Market Integration Specialist, Country Strategy and Cooperation Department, IsDB

Objectives: to help identify technical assistance and support needs for Arab Acceding Governments with the relevant stakeholders and development partners

12:30-12:45 CET / 15:30-15:45 GST- Short Break

12:45-14:00 CET / 15:45-17:00 GST

Session 6: Trade for Peace

Moderator:

  • Ms. Vicky Chemutai, Trade Economist, World Bank

Speakers:

  • Dr. Michael Ferrantino, Lead Trade Economist, World Bank
    Presentation
  • Ambassador Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations in New York and Chairman of the Working Party of Iraq
    Presentation
  • Prof. Luigi Narbone, Director, Middle East Directions, European University Institute, RSCAS/EUI
    Presentation

Objectives: several Arab acceding governments are fragile and conflict affected. This session will exhibit how trade can be an important vehicle for peace.

14:00-14:15 CET / 17:00-17:15 GST

Closing Session

Speakers:

  • Dr. Jaalelddine Ben Regeb, Director, Economic Department, AMF
  • Ms. Maika Oshikawa, Director, Accessions Division, WTO
  • Mr Syed Husain Quadri, Acting Director, Country Strategy and Cooperation, IsDB

Organizers

  1. Arab Monetary Fund (AMF);
  2. Islamic Development Bank (IDB);
  3. World Trade Organization (WTO)

VIRTUAL WORKSHOP FOCAL POINTS:
Training and Capacity Building Institute (TCBI), AMF
Mrs Loubna Sacr (Tel:  +97 12 617 1765; e-mail: EPI@amfad.org.ae)
ITTC, WTO

  1. Mr Samer Seif El Yazal (tel: +41 22 739 54 59 ; e-mail: samer.seif@wto.org );
  2. Mr Nadine Brouillaud (tel: +41 22 739 57 46; e-mail: nadine.brouillaud
    @wto.org

WTO Accessions Division

  1. Ms Mena Hassan (tel: +41 22 739 65 22 ; e-mail: mena.hassan@wto.org)
  2. Mr. Alexandre Marchand (Tel: +41 22 739 6214 , email: alexandrepaul.marchan
    d@wto.org
    )
  3. Ms. Anais Wardak (tel: +41 22 739 6169; email: anais.wardak@wto.org)

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