Rabat – In the midst of regional conflicts, the Arab world’s only chance to tower over its economic deficiencies is to “strengthen a joint Arab economic action,” Morocco’s State Secretary for Foreign Trade, Rkia Derham, said on Sunday.
At the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), trade officials are discussing a range of issues, including agriculture, development, fisheries subsidies, domestic regulation of services, and electronic commerce in Buenos Aires from December 10 to 13.
Future-Proof Trading Prospects
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said that the multilateral trading system has positive effects, helping to build prosperity around the world.
“It has helped to lift a billion people out of poverty in a generation. It has been tested – and it has held firm,” he affirmed.
In a joint declaration, President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, President Michel Temer of Brazil, President Horacio Cartes of Paraguay, and President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay reaffirmed the importance of the multilateral trading system as the “best way to take advantage of the opportunities and to face the challenges of international trade.”
They also underlined the importance of preserving and strengthening the multilateral trading system, including its dispute settlement system, in order to promote rules “based on open, transparent, inclusive, non discriminatory and equitable trade embodied in the WTO, providing it with the tools it needs to face the challenges of the 21st century.”
“Trade has been a key source of growth and development,” Argentina’s President Macri declared. “However, we know that the benefits haven’t been shared by everybody, and that has given rise to challenges and a questioning of economic globalization.”
In an Attempt to Rise
To push for stronger participation of the Arab Group in the multilateral trading system, Derham insisted that the Arabs must coordinate efforts “to achieve the objectives of the Arab joint action in various areas, including economy and trade.”
For the effective participation of Arab delegations at the WTO’s MC11, which is seeing participation of 4,000 government delegates from the WTO’s 164 nations, “Morocco will continue to coordinate with the members of the Arab Group to take a joint stance on the issues discussed at the conference,” she underlined.
The Arab group also requested to give the Arab League an observer status within WTO councils, bodies, and committees, as is the case for other international bodies and organizations.
The group is also pushing for Arabic to be an official language of the WTO in order to enable the Arab States to participate effectively in the development of the trading system.