The UAE has been selected to host global trade development talks in February 2024.

President Sheikh Mohamed made the announcement on Monday that representatives from 164 countries in the World Trade Organisation will convene in the nation’s capital.

In a message posted online, he said that the UAE is honoured to have been selected as the host country for the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2024.

“We look forward to facilitating constructive dialogue between WTO nations and strengthening international co-operation for a sustainable economic future.”

The WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 12 to June 17. It was originally meant to be held in Kazakhstan in 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Scheduled to end on June 15, the ministerial gathering in Geneva was extended by two days to allow more time for negotiations and for agreements to be reached.

Two proposals were received by the WTO to host the 13th Ministerial Conference, one from the UAE and another from Cameroon.

The last time the conference was held in the Gulf was in 2001 in Doha, which resulted in China being approved as the 143rd member.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, also tweeted the news.

“We welcome the participating countries, we welcome the World Trade Organisation, and we support all international moves that guarantee the free flow of goods and services between different countries of the world and protect the future of global trade,” he wrote.

The Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the WTO and usually meets every two years.

It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions, and takes decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

“The 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation reflects the UAE’s status as a key facilitator of trade and investment between all four corners of the world,” said Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy.

“It is also the culmination of the qualitative leaps that the UAE has achieved in terms of economic growth and diversification over recent decades, which has been central to our bold vision to unleash a new era of sustainable economic development.”

The inaugural Ministerial Conference was held in Singapore in 1996.

Its main purpose was to spark an international effort among global trading nations to restructure the mechanisms of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade while preserving the substantial progress made by the system since its inception in 1948.