The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) organised a workshop on Wednesday that brought together national authorities tasked with following up on the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA).
The workshop was attended by member states’ representatives concerned with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures as well as technical barriers to trade (TBT).
The workshop, which was held at the MCI's building in Lusail City, was aimed at briefing national authorities on the importance of tackling SPS measures and TBT within the framework of any trade arrangement and their position at the World Trade Organisation.
The workshop also highlighted the importance of featuring these topics within the legislative framework of the GAFTA, including the legal and institutional aspects.
The workshop was also aimed at briefing authorities concerned across Qatar on the aspects of co-operation in terms of SPS measures and technical barriers to trade across the Arab region, in addition to familiarising participants with Qatar’s efforts and those of its various bodies in tackling SPS measures and TBT issues in addition to the country’s compliance with the WTO agreements.
The workshop also featured discussions on mechanisms to support the Arab League’s efforts in terms of addressing SPS measures and TBT in the Arab region as well as the sustainability of efforts to promote food safety in the Arab world.
“The workshop highlighted the important and pivotal role that Qatar plays in supporting GAFTA and enhancing intra-Arab trade,” MCI said in a statement.
The workshop also touched on a number of important topics such as the need to develop a legislative framework to tackle these issues across the region in line with WTO arrangements.
The workshop also discussed preferential bilateral or regional trade arrangements in addition to the national and regional accomplishments in this regard and future steps to move forward in this direction.
The Arab Economic Integration Department at the Arab League delivered a presentation on the legal foundations and progress of GAFTA negotiations.
The presentation touched on the historical background of GAFTA, key successes and constraints across the region, as well as proposals to develop GAFTA. The presentation also stressed the importance of integrating sanitary and phytosanitary measures as well as addressing technical barriers to trade across GAFTA, outlining upcoming steps in this regard and the future vision of integration measures.
The Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology outlined its role in terms of joint Arab efforts towards the implementation of the GAFTA under the leadership of the Arab League as well as efforts to bridge the gap between the WTO and Arab countries when it comes to technical barriers to trade.
The Arab Team specialised in Food Safety in Qatar also delivered a presentation on the ongoing co-operation between authorities tasked with supervising food safety in Qatar and their role in terms of bridging the gap between Arab countries and the WTO when it comes to the system endorsed by the WTO concerning SPS measures and their impact on the Arab League’s efforts to implement GAFTA.
For their part, Members of the Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation, known as ‘SAFE’, an initiative that was implemented by UNIDO, delivered a presentation on co-operation between SAFE Initiative and the Arab League to strengthen efforts in the field of food safety in Qatar.
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