CAIRO, 2nd August, 2016 (WAM) – The UAE is participating in the trade liberalisation in services’ negotiations among Arab countries, which kicked off today at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League.

The meeting is being attended by representatives of the Arab Ministries of Economy and Customs agencies. The UAE is represented by Sultan Ahmed Darwish, Director of Trade Negotiations Department of the Ministry of Economy.

Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs at the Arab League, Ambassador Mohamed bin Ibrahim Al-Tuwaijri, said that the meeting discussed the final offers made by Arab countries for the completion of the Beirut round of free trade negotiations in services among Arab countries.

He said on the sidelines of the meeting that the 26th Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh in March 2015 issued a resolution on the trade in services requesting the Secretariat-General to invite Arab countries to prioritise sectors they wish to liberalise, as per the Services Sectoral Classification list approved by the WTO. The secretariat has received offers from Egypt, the UAE, Sudan, Yemen, Morocco, and Lebanon, stating their desire to join the convention on liberalising trade in services.

The meeting chairman, Malik Assi, head of trade department at the Ministry of Economy and Trade of Lebanon, said the meeting will discuss over two days, most importantly, the items regarding a mechanism to conclude the Beirut round of negotiations.

He stressed the importance of liberalisation of trade in services among the Arab countries, especially that global trade in services represents more than 25 per cent of international trade, according to the statistical reports released by international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Assi noted that it was essential and a key part of the global trade that most Arab economies rely on trade in services by between 40 to 50 per cent.