Morocco is one of the main countries advocating for Iraq’s accession to the WTO.
Rabat – Morocco has ramped up its advocacy for Iraq’s integration into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Omar Hilale, Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN in New York and the chairman of the Working Group on Iraq’s Accession to the WTO, met this week with various stakeholders in Geneva to discuss the dossier.
Hilale met with the Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo. He also had a working session with the WTO Deputy Director-General, Alan Wolff, and the Director of the Accessions Division of the WTO, Maika Oshikawa.
Wolff is a vocal supporter of the integration of various countries into the WTO, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste.
“For these countries, and those who seek to help them accede to the WTO, the promotion of peace is a very real principle and cause espoused as being a fundamental motive for becoming and being a Member of the WTO,” Wolff said during a webinar on May 27.
Hilale’s meeting with Wolff was an important component of the Moroccan diplomat’s agenda.
The ambassador also held bilateral meetings with the ambassadors and permanent representatives in Geneva of the European Union, Switzerland, Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia. Along with Morocco, these parties are the main actors involved in the process of integrating Iraq into the WTO.
The Moroccan diplomat also had a “fruitful” phone conversation with the United States representative in Washington, Morocco’s state media reported.
The meetings followed Hilale’s conversation last month with Alaa Ahmed Hassan Obaid, Iraq’s new trade minister. The two parties had agreed to revitalize negotiations to speed up the process of Iraq’s accession to the WTO.
The various stakeholders in Geneva expressed appreciation for Morocco’s efforts to revive Iraq’s accession process to the WTO in light of the difficult circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the same source added.
Hilale also had a virtual working session in Baghdad with Adel Al Masoudi, the director-general of External Economic Relations at the Ministry of Commerce and the head of the delegation in charge of negotiations.
While meeting with the representative of Morocco, Al Masoudi reaffirmed Iraq’s commitment to intensify its efforts to prepare all the documents required for the country’s accession to the WTO.
The Iraqi official requested technical assistance for various ministerial departments in order to form an efficient negotiating team that will enable Iraq to better secure its interests during the WTO accession process.
To mobilize the assistance Iraq needs, Hilale had a virtual working session with representatives of the World Bank in Baghdad and Beirut.
Prior to Hilale’s various meetings and talks, the World Bank published a report on the economic situation of Iraq, confirming the importance of Iraq’s accession to the WTO.