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UN hosts regional meeting on upcoming World Trade Organization forum

UN hosts regional meeting on upcoming World Trade Organization forum

Trade and economy ministers from numerous Arab States gathered today at the United Nations House in Beirut to seek a joint position in advance of next month's World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference.

The two-day Beirut meeting is being organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in cooperation with WTO, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the League of Arab States.

Addressing participants, ESCWA Executive Secretary Merwat Tallawi said with the world economy facing a recession, Arab States must work to coordinate their policies. "Arab countries will undoubtedly be affected by this situation and this is why we should be prepared and work on softening the impact," she said.

Looking ahead to the WTO meeting, which will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 9 to 13 November, UNCTAD official Abdelaziz Megazari said recent events have "brutally underlined" the need for greater international solidarity, especially in the area of trade. "The Doha Conference should initiate a process to better reflect and consolidate this solidarity," he said.

The Beirut meeting also aims to discuss the status of Arab States that are currently members of WTO, as well as those seeking to join the organization. Participants include representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Islamic Development Bank and the Arab Management Society.