Dr. Majid Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Chairman of Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, led the Saudi delegation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference held in Geneva between 12-15 June 2022.
The coordination meeting of Arab countries was held on the sidelines of the conference, with the participation of the GCC countries, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the meeting of Arab member states of the World Trade Organization with the Director-General of the organization, which was organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its capacity as the Arab group’s coordinator in WTO.
During the conference, Al-Qasabi met with the Egyptian Minister of Commerce and Industry Nevine Gamea, the Bahraini Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Zayed Rashid Al Zayani, the Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade Riad Mazour, the UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Abdullah bin Touq Marri, the Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce Fahad Mutlaq Al Shariaan, and the Sudanese Minister of Trade and Supply Dr. Amaal Salih Saad.
The Saudi Minister of Commerce also held meetings with the Japanese Minister of Economy and Trade Kenichi Hosoda, the Indian Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, and the Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Trade Manuel Tovar Rivera, during which they discussed the development of relations and the strengthening of economic cooperation.
During his speech at the Ministerial Conference, the Minister of Commerce emphasized that the meeting provides an opportunity to send a clear message that the multilateral trading ecosystem and the World Trade Organization can still deliver results to address current challenges. These include the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, an economic recovery that ensures equitable and affordable access, expanding vaccine production, and responding to food security challenges along with e-commerce.
Al-Qasabi said the Kingdom believes that WTO reform should be a top priority for everyone, and in that vein, the Kingdom launched the "Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO" during its G20 presidency.
Al-Qasabi reiterated that the Kingdom calls on WTO members to facilitate and expedite membership for developing and least developed countries, particularly Arab countries. This was based on the Arab trade ministers' approval of the Joint Ministerial Statement and the statement on the adoption of Arabic as an official working language in the WTO.
This year's ministerial conference focuses on agriculture negotiations and fisheries support, as well as World Trade Organization reform. It highlights the organization's response to the pandemic and food security in developing and least developed countries, in addition to other topics.