Arab ministers are meeting in Beirut 22-25 July to coordinate their countries´ positions on the Doha work programme in preparation for the upcoming WTO ministerial conference in Cancún. The formal ministerial meeting (24-25 July) will be preceded by two days of talks (22-23 July) during which Arab experts will consult on priority issues of concern to the Arab countries, including special & differential treatment and implementation-related issues and concerns; market access in agriculture, non-agricultural products and services, including energy services; and TRIPS and public health. Accession of Arab countries will also be discussed, as will the interface among the Arab regional and subregional integration process, bilateral free trade agreements and the multilateral trading system.
The ministerial meeting will be attended by ministers and by senior representatives of regional, non-governmental and international organizations, including WTO and WIPO. Both meetings are taking place at ESCWA headquarters (United Nations House) and are being organized by UNCTAD, ESCWA and the League of Arab States (LAS) as part of a joint technical assistance programme to Arab countries in the field of multilateral trade negotiations and the international trading system. Financial support has been provided by the World Bank and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).