WTO 13th Ministerial Conference

26-29 February 2024



Message from the MC13 Chair

Trade is the principal engine of the global economy. It drives productivity, development and opportunity around the world – creating jobs, enhancing knowledge, promoting innovation and catalyzing entrepreneurship.


The UAE is a compelling example of trade’s power to elevate economies and provide a pathway to long-term, sustainable prosperity. It is why we remain a consistent champion of an accessible, adaptable and rules-based global trading system, and why we are delighted to play a role in guiding its future by hosting the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference.


As Chair, the UAE’s focus is to create an environment conducive to constructive dialogue between member states, to support efforts to reach a consensus on key issues and, in an era of uncertainty and growing complexity, to restate the case for global trade.


This vital work isn’t limited to a single week, of course, but the resolutions and commitments made in Abu Dhabi will ensure we are working in harmony to build a trading system from which everyone will benefit.


I look forward to receiving you all in the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi

Minister of State for Foreign Trade United Arab Emirates


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The Ministerial Conference is the most important deliberative body of the World Trade Organisation, the intergovernmental entity that regulates and facilitates international trade. With 164 members, the WTO is the world’s largest international economic organization, representing more than 98% of global trade and GDP.


Ministerial Conferences gather the WTO membership, be they representatives of nations or customs unions, to improve, refine and update the rules governing global trade, international trading systems and free-trade agreements.


Chaired by His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates, the 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi will seek to build on the successes of MC12 in Geneva in June 2022 and ensure the movement of goods and services remains free and fair for every member.

Trade IssueS

The WTO’s mission is to deliver a more inclusive, sustainable and equitable trading system. In our rapidly evolving economic landscape, reviewing and refining the rules that govern global trade is a key objective of Ministerial Conferences. 


Some of today’s priority issues include:


Hosted by the WTO and ITC, in collaboration with the Government of the UAE, the two-day ITC SheTrades Summit celebrates the progress made by women entrepreneurs in international trade and seeks to inspire governments and the private sector to take bolder actions in their support for economic empowerment.
Full details to be confirmed.
This side-event marks a pivotal moment in the collaborative efforts of the WTO and FIFA aimed at transforming the cotton-textile industries in African Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
Co-organised by the WTO and the World Bank. Full details to be confirmed. Event location: ADNEC, Briefing Room 2
Full details to be confirmed.
Led by Etihad Credit Insurance, this event will try and foster collaboration among top trade insurance companies, businesses, financial institutions and governments to enhance the role of export credit insurance in supporting global trade.

See tentative agenda here

MC13 Venue & Location

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)


For more information contact:

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)

Khaleej Al Arabi Street

Abu Dhabi

800 23 632 (Within UAE)

+971 2 444 6900 (International)


Virtual tour of ADNEC >>


Delegates can book hotel accommodation at exclusive rates here

Experience Abu Dhabi

The UAE has always been open to the world. Located at a global crossroads, the free flow of goods, services, and people, has long shaped the history of our country.


Over the past 50 years, our GDP increased by over 20 times, our economic diversification deepened with non-oil sector increasing contribution to GDP from 42.7% in 1975 to more than 70% now. The remarkable growth of our foreign trade, from USD10 billion in 1975 to USD773 in 2021, is a testament to our robust policies and proactive approach to enhance the UAE’s stature as a regional and global trade hub.


Abu Dhabi and the UAE takes immense pride in hosting this significant gathering in partnership with the World Trade Organisation, providing a platform for constructive dialogue and collaboration on crucial trade pillars, reaffirming our commitment to economic cooperation, leading breakthrough initiatives, and exploring new avenues for growth and development.


The future of trade is central to the future of Abu Dhabi and UAE.

H.E. Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi

Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED)

We invite you to savour the unique sights, sounds and tastes of UAE capital.

Between February 26-29, a range of experiences and tours are available to MC13 delegates.

All trips will be guided in English and include transportation.

All tours are free for badge holders, spouses and children.
Click here for information on shuttle buses for the tours.

Consisting of a mosque, church, synagogue and educational center, the Abrahamic Family House serves as a platform to deepen understanding of common humanity through dialogue, exchange of knowledge, and the practice of faith.
Qasr Al Watan is a working Presidential palace that invites visitors to discover the rich legacy of knowledge and tradition that has shaped the UAE. The palace is an icon of Abu Dhabi’s skyline inspired by Arabian heritage and artistry.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi offers 9,200m2 of galleries that showcase the human experience beyond geography, nationality and history. The museum’s striking lattice-work dome is a complex, geometric structure composed of 7,850 stars.
Qasr AlHosn is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, dating back to 1790s when it was constructed to protect the growing settlement. Over the centuries, it has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive.
An immense architectural work of art that blends different Islamic architectural schools, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features 82 domes, more than 1,000 columns, 24-carat-gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
Abu Dhabi’s Maritime Heritage Festival will once more immerse visitors of all ages in traditional coastal life, recreating a historic shoreline community with a thrilling blend of inspiring crafts, souqs, storytelling, performances, demonstrations and traditional cuisine. Retrace the journeys of those who lived in rhythm with Abu Dhabi’s tides, through experiences including weaving, navigating by the stars, net-casting, foods, and traditional performances, to explore the healing bounty of the sea and our trading legacy.
Learn all about the significance of dates within Emirati culture, the different varieties grown in the region, and the intricacies of the unique harvesting processes for each. The experience will conclude with a tasting.

Available at ADNEC Heritage Pavillion

Practiced by Bedouin women, the art of Al-Sadu uses the wool of sheep, camels and goats to create distinct works reflective of Emirati culture. Guests will collaborate with local artisans to weave their own Sadu bracelets.

Available at ADNEC Heritage Pavillion

Oud, the resin of the agarwood tree, is the key ingredient in Arabic perfumes. Guests will work with local experts to craft their own scent using this “black gold” – which they can keep as a special memento.

Available at ADNEC Heritage Pavillion

Customized burqas are a traditional form of Emirati dress, originally worn by married women to distinguish themselves in society. Guests will have the chance to create their own design.

Available at ADNEC Heritage Pavillion

Henna artists will demonstrate the complexity of their artform, highlighting the history of a long-standing cultural tradition. The plant dye is painless, temporary, and features intricate floral patterns.

Available at ADNEC Heritage Pavillion

Falconry is a significant part of regional heritage and culture, regarded as one of the most esteemed local sports. Guests will have the opportunity to take images with a falcon in the heritage area.

Available at ADNEC Heritage Pavillion

MC13 Media Hub

Authored by the Ministry of Economy and Crescent Enterprises, this white paper calls for a redefined partnership between philanthropy and trade, with the goal of constructing an evolved ecosystem that is not only more representative of diverse interests, but is also geared toward fostering long-term resilience and sustainability. The aim of the white paper is to explore the role of strategic philanthropy in streamlining trade processes, enhancing impact, expanding inclusivity and building resilience within the global trade ecosystem, such as through catalyzing investment in trade-related infrastructure, with a focus on more effectively engaging the Global South and less developed economies/Global Majority and leveraging philanthropic capital for progressive developmental advocacy and mitigation of the reversals of previous gains.
The report reviews the challenges that countries, particularly developing countries, face when seeking to build and maintain their trade infrastructure and proposes a framework to help them to address them. According to the report, many of these challenges are financial, with funding gaps inhibiting investment in transportation networks, logistics and warehousing facilities, customs and border-control functions and IT systems – all of which limit a nation’s private sector from participating fully in global trade.
Authored by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Economy, a report on the importance of enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate more fully in international trade was launched the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Abu Dhabi. It outlines the challenges faced by SMEs in accessing global supply chains and offers a series of policies and programs that governments around the world can introduce to overcome them. The report makes a compelling case for the importance of enhancing the ability of SMEs to access the global trading system, and lays out concrete steps governments can take.
The UAE Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with Crescent Enterprises and Gulftainer, launched a report titled ‘Trade 2050: A Private Sector Perspective’. This report serves as a crucial discussion document on the forces anticipated to impact the trading system over the next 25 years. It emphasizes the evolving relationship between trade, geopolitics, and global commerce, which is significantly influenced by overarching megatrends such as rapid technological advancements. The report highlights the rising prominence of emerging economies, the transformational role of technology, the rapid growth of service trade, and the importance of sustainability in global trade.
This whitepaper aims to pioneer a new era of trade regulation by exploring the key trends in trade technology and their impact on global trade, and providing a blueprint for a harmonized global regulatory system that will oversee the trading systems of the future. Namely, the proposed Global Alliance for Future Trade Regulation (GAFTR) will focus on fostering international collaboration on TradeTech regulation to ensure its unified application by trading nations, especially developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs). The paper argues that rapid evolution and adoption of technology across global supply chains makes regulating trade technology a crucial element in their widespread adoption. Mechanisms to safeguard trade-related data, to ensure fair competition, to offer consumer protection and privacy, in addition to establishing legal clarity to resolve potential disputes between trading partners, all need to be developed and tested.
The future of trade is intertwined with sustainability. With the climate crisis pushing sustainability to the forefront of global priorities, the Navigating the Green Horizon whitepaper summarises key trends in environmental responsibility and their drivers, provides an overview into how countries are greening trade, and highlights several innovations for consideration by ministers at the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13).
The Trade for Development platform, announced by the UAE at MC13, is a technical assistance program that will feature a suite of free available online tools to assist trade officials, negotiators, and policymakers from developing and least developed nations enhance their capacity and skills to engage in the complex and highly technical process of trade negotiations. The platform will offer a virtual library of content from global trade and policy experts, covering a comprehensive range of areas traditionally found in a trade agreement. Audio-visual content will be supplemented with analytical studies, economic modelling, trade agreement implementation plans and a host of other best practice tools.
The ‘Trade-Sustain-AI’ initiative, announced by the UAE at MC13, seeks to leverage the rapidly advancing power of artificial intelligence in supply chains to boost the contribution of global trade to the battle against climate change. The initiative will work with international organizations, governments, and industry leaders to make an immediate impact, including optimizing shipping routes to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, improving logistics operations such as inventory management and freight movements, among a number of other efforts.
The EcoMark Global Framework initiative, announced by the UAE at MC13, fills a critical emerging gap in the global trade architecture. The new Framework Initiative will support governments in creating accreditation bodies, while also providing direct capacity building and training for MSMEs toward attaining and demonstrating green credentials. This will empower them to reach new markets, find customers, and receive proper credit for their sustainable production practices.
Global Future Trade Leaders is a three-month program launched by the UAE Ministry of Economy in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), to unlock the potential of tomorrow’s trade leaders. The program equips young UAE government officials with the knowledge, skills, and insights required to effectively participate in and contribute to UAE-hosted trade events and multilateral trade negotiations.


Strategic Partners