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Minister Coveney TD to attend WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD will travel to Abu Dhabi to participate in the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference from 25-29 February 2024. Ireland as on open trading economy fully supports the rules based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its centre.

Minister Coveney will attend two meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and will hold bilateral meetings with EU counterparts and with Ministers from the wider WTO membership, including US Trade Representative Tai.

Speaking ahead of the Ministerial Conference, Minister Coveney said:

“There are important issues on the agenda of the WTO Ministerial Conference, the foremost of these is ensuring that this Ministerial Conference makes progress on the Dispute Settlement Reform. The Dispute Settlement Mechanism is a vital element of the WTO. It is important that we have a clear roadmap to restoring that system, as agreed at the last Ministerial in 2022.”

Underlining Ireland’s reform priorities for the WTO Ministerial Conference on emerging challenges such as digital trade, sustainability and climate, Minister Coveney said:

“We are keen to see reform to ensure that the WTO is able to meet the challenges of the modern economy in terms of boosting digital trade, tackling industrial subsidies and enabling the climate transition. For the WTO to maintain its relevance, it must demonstrate its ability to reach an outcome on the second phase of the fisheries agreement and on the extension of the eCommerce moratorium to ensure the free flow of digital goods. Without a multilateral agreement on this issue, it will result in economic fragmentation. This is a key deliverable from the meetings in Abu Dhabi.”

Other important topics that will be addressed during negotiations at the WTO Ministerial meeting include agriculture and food security. While in the region, Minister Coveney will also undertake an Enterprise Ireland led Trade Mission to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.