(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The Ministry of Foreign Trade (MOFT) is hosting a Seminar on Trade Facilitation among Arab Countries and their Integration into the Multilateral Trading System, organised by the Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Islamic Development Bank, within the framework of the ongoing regional and World Trade Organization negotiations.
The seminar, scheduled to take place from 15th 17th of this month at the JW Marriot in Dubai, is set to be attended by a number of Arab countries and international organisations such as the WTO, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, and the Islamic Centre for the Development of Trade.
The seminar s themes and topics will include; a general overview of the latest developments of the Doha negotiations on trade facilitation (TF); a look at GATT Rules; an assessment of the proposed TF text/agreement in the WTO; TF and Developing countries perspective in negotiations; special and differential treatment and the implementation of a future WTO TF agreement; recent trends in international trade; institutional support needs at the national level during both the negotiations and implementation phases; the development dimension of the trade facilitation negotiations and expected results (challenges and opportunities); trade facilitation from the perspective of exporting companies; trade facilitation among OIC member countries (realities and perspectives) and trade facilitation among Arab countries (efforts within GAFTA).
Mr. Abdulaziz M. Alkelaibi, the head of the WTO unit at the GCC s Secretariat said that "the seminar s significance is that it comes at a time of increased trade liberalisation, great advancements in global markets, developments in IT and communications, rapid growth in the movement of commodities and people among countries that have led to calls for the assessment and utilization of these developments in developing countries with the goal of easing procedures and the flow of commodities and people". It also comes, he added, "in light of the developments being witnessed with regards to the ongoing negotiations on the draft trade agreement in the WTO".
The list of participating countries includes; The United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia, Mauritania, Libya, Jordan and Morocco. Participating countries will present a number of working papers and will discuss a number of proposals related to strengthening regional trade in light of global changes.
Alkelaibi also emphasised the "importance of easing trade between Arab League member states in order to strengthen and increase the flow of bilateral trade between them", adding that "the GCC member countries have constantly been working on easing trade", which is evident, he said, in the GCC s main principles and economic agreements ever since its establishment, when the six member states created a free trade area in 1983, established a GCC customs union in 2003, and agreed on launching a joint gulf market in 2008.
The UAE is considered one of the world s leading open trade countries that enjoys flexible trade legislations and advanced infrastructural and logistical capabilities that have contributed to its transformation into a regional and global centre for re-exports and to further strengthen its commercial sector as well as raising the country s standing and setting the way for its attainment of a number of advanced ratings in trade, investment flow and business setup indicators. Of these, was the UAE s ranking at the; 24th position, out of 144 world countries in the World Economic Forum s Global Competitiveness Index 2012 - 2013 ; 33rd position out of 183 countries, in the World Bank s Ease of Doing Business Index and the 19th position out of 132 countries in the WEF s 2012 Global Enabling Trade Index .
Moreover, according to the World Trade Organisation, the UAE was the world s 20th largest exporter and 25th largest importer in 2011. Moreover, it came in 7th place globally in the Efficiency of Import-Export Procedures , the 12th globally in terms of its business environment, and the 17th in the Efficiency of Customs Administration.