Arab commerce and economy ministers Wednesday, October 31 stressed the need to defend the position of developing countries, especially in agriculture, at next week's WTO meeting in Doha.
Eight ministers and senior officials of the other states in the 22-member Arab League took part in the meeting held in the Lebanese capital on Monday and Tuesday. In a final statement, they called for Arabic to be recognized as an official language of the WTO, for easing of the accession process, and the appointment of an Arab League observer to the World Trade Organization.
They also stressed the importance of the services sector, the need for progressive liberalization of trade and for more autonomy for the agricultural sector of developing states, some of which are dependent on food imports.
The Qatari capital is to host a WTO meeting of trade ministers from November 9-13. Eleven Arab League states belong to the WTO: Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Five are candidate countries: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen. — (AFP, Beirut)
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