The Ministry of Economy has held a workshop on the terms of the trade facilitation convention under the World Trade Organization (WTO) participated in by a number of representatives from free zones nationwide. The workshop discussed the terms of the agreement and implementation mechanisms and shared national developments related to international trade.
The workshop was organized at the Ministry’s office in Abu Dhabi by its Trade Promotion and Investment Department in cooperation with the Department of Trade Negotiations and WTO. Among the UAE free zones represented were Abu Dhabi Global Market, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Dubai Airport Freezone Authority(DAFZA), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), twofour54 Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority, Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), Dubai South, Ajman Free Zone, RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA), and Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA).
Mohammed Nasser Hamdan Al Zaabi, Director of the Ministry of Economy’s Trade Promotion and Investment Department, said: “The holding of the workshop is in line with the recommendations made during the first meeting between the ministry and the representatives of the free zones. The ministry aims to continuously work on holding meetings and workshops during the coming period to enhance the level of communication and coordination with partners, improve the country’s investment climate, and raise the profile of the state in competitive foreign trade indicators.”
For his part, Sultan Ahmed Darwish, Director of Trade Negotiations and WTO at the Ministry of Economy, presented the steps taken by the state to promote the multilateral trading system. Darwish addressed the challenges faced in meeting trade facilitation commitments, most notably those concerning automation with the goal of reducing paperwork. He pointed to the state’s great strides in this regard through the shift to ‘smart’ government services, referring to a 96.3 per cent increase in such services within 41 federal authorities through 337 government service in 2015.
Fakhri Al Hazaimeh, Senior Counselor WTO & Multilateral Trading System at Foreign Trade Sector, discussed the negotiating phases on trade facilitation within the framework of the WTO, the components of the convention and the obligations of developed and least-developed countries, and the flexibility accorded to developed countries in terms of notification and implementation of commitments.