Annual WTO Ministerial Conference wraps up in Abu Dhabi

The 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the WTO took place on 26 February-2 March 2024, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with close to 4,000 participants. The ministers ended the Conference with a renewed commitment to have a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system by 2024 and to improve the use of the special and differential treatment (S&DT) provisions for developing and least developed countries (LDCs). The MC13 also formally approved the membership of two new members – Comoros and Timor-Leste. Eleven new states also deposited their instruments of acceptance of the WTO Fisheries Agreement. However, the MC13 presented a number of setbacks on matters where no agreement was reached, such as on agriculture and fishing subsidies. Significantly, 123 WTO members presented the WTO Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement and requested it to be incorporated into the WTO architecture as a plurilateral agreement under Annex 4 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO. The consensus decision to add this agreement was, however, not reached at the MC13.