WTO highlights key UAE role in global trade
Geneva, April 4, 2012
The World Trade Organization (WTO) in its recent policy review report underlined the important role played by the UAE in global trade and the multilateral trading system.
Speaking at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva, Eduardo Munoz, Colombian Ambassador and the chairman of the WTO trade policy review body, said, "The WTO members commended the UAE [during the 2nd UAE Trade Policy Review (TPR) discussions] for its bold steps to diversify the economy away from oil and gas.”
In the TPR conclusion, the global trade body expressed its hope for greater prosperity and success for the UAE in building a more advanced knowledge-based economy and in strengthening its role in the organization to further strengthen the foundations of the multilateral trading system.
Munoz said the WTO members also lauded the country’s open trade regime, which applies low tariffs that have not exceeded 4.9 per cent in 2011, enabling the UAE to “successfully weather the global crisis without backsliding on trade liberalization.”
“Members also encouraged the UAE to continue its reforms in order to achieve its goal, based on the ‘UAE Vision 2021’, to transform the economy into one that is knowledge-based, highly productive, and competitive,” he added.
The WTO members have welcomed the UAE’s commitment to the multilateral trading system and encouraged it to further foster its participation in order to achieve its economic diversification related goals, he added.
Reenat Sandhu, the deputy permanent representative of India to the WTO and TPR discussant, said that the member states have commended the UAE “for its open and liberal trading regime [which is] characterized by a simple tariff structure, low applied tariffs and few non-tariff barriers”.
According to her, the emirates won priase for its progressive economic agenda and diversification strategy of promoting growth in the services and non-oil sectors, particularly air and maritime transport, telecommunications and tourism.
"The UAE’s business friendly environment and free trade zones have also been commended as a successful model for investment promotion," Sandhu said
The closing session of the TPR also saw interventions from the WTO representatives of the European Union, the US, Pakistan among others, who commended the UAE’s trade policies and its steadily growing role in global trade.
The EU representative pointed out that the emirates was a strategic partner for the European block and it hoped to boost its current levels of co-operation with the UAE through the signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC.
The US representative too commended the performance and flexibility of the UAE trading system and the country’s effective participation in the WTO and also its support for the ‘Doha Development Agenda’, which promotes the multilateral trading system.
Thanking the members for their review, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, said, “The emirates will continue to uphold its free-market strategy and proceed with reviewing all existing policies in order to make them as resilient, adaptable, and responsive to future challenges."
"The UAE appreciates the praise it has received from member states for its trade policies and their statements in recognition of the country's efforts to overcome the effects and ramifications of the global crisis without recourse to protective measures," Sheikha Lubna said in her closing remarks at the UAE’s 2nd TPR.
The UAE will continue to develop its economic and legislative laws and legislations and to diversify its economy within the “UAE Vision 2021” framework, she added.-TradeArabia News Service