World Trade Growth Will Undershoot WTO’s Target

1 Mon Ago
World Trade Growth Will Undershoot WTO’s Target

World Trade Organization Director General (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said world trade growth will undershoot WTO’s target. 

Monday's WTO's biennial summit in Abu Dhabi, which aims to establish new global commerce regulations, brought together trade ministers from almost every nation. 

Consensus-based negotiations are the preferred method of reaching agreements for the nearly 30-year-old global watchdog, whose regulations account for 75% of world trade.

However, a growing number of indications point to the global economy's disintegration due to several factors.  

It is with this context that the WTO is holding its 13th Ministerial Summit, the WTO Director General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in her opening speech.

“Let’s not pretend that any of these will be easy, the atmosphere is tougher than the WTO's last 2022 meeting, due to the wars, tensions and elections and signs that trade growth will undershoot the body's own estimate. I called on ministers to roll up your sleeves and complete negotiations, but seemed to rule out any deal in Abu Dhabi on reforming the body’s mothballed appeals court. We are not there yet,” but even its aspirational chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala tried to temper expectations.

In his keynote address, Conference Chair and UAE’s Minister of Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi stated, “The multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core is at a critical juncture; it is confronting many challenges; therefore, trade and sustainability would be on the agenda as part of an effort to ensure the body's future relevance.”

A report on the implementation of pledges from the previous conference, such as bolstering trade reviews and progressing negotiations on fisheries subsidies and e-commerce, was also presented by Athaliah Lesiba, the Chairperson of the WTO General Council.

On Sunday, the UAE announced a $10 million grant to support WTO initiatives such as the Fisheries Funding Mechanism, the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), and the Women Exporters in the Digital Economy (WEIDE) Fund, launched during the conference.

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