Abu Dhabi: Foreign trade accounted for 69 per cent of the UAE's GDP last year. This has helped strengthen the country's position among the world's top 30 economies ranked by the World Trade Organisation, said Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade.

Speaking at the conference on Border Control Airport and Seaport Security, Shaikha Lubna said that the UAE ports have been factors in energising trade with other countries.

"In 2010, our seaports and airports accommodated more than Dh654 billion in total trade to reaffirm their role as one of the most productive trade enablers," she added.

Shaikha Lubna pointed out that the UAE was ranked 24th among the 155 countries in the World Bank's 2010 Logistics Performance Index and 16th in the World Economic Forum's Enabling Trade Index.

"Between 60-70 per cent of goods handled at the UAE seaports are re-exported to other countries," she said.

"Our detailed attention to solid performance, good management and optimal costing across our ports has been instrumental to the emergence of the UAE as a regional hub for more than 25 per cent of the world's top 55 companies," the minister said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MoFT) has been holding talks with the World Trade Organisation on the UAE's Trade Policy Review (TPR) to align the country's company and investment laws with the WTO regulations.

The UAE held its first review under the TPR in 2006. The government is currently considering lifting foreign ownership on UAE-registered companies from 49 per cent.

UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri has repeatedly said that a comprehensive set of laws will be issued that will change the companies law and investment law.

Juma Al Kait, assistant undersecretary in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, said, "The ministry has reached an agreement with Simmons and Simmons Middle East to provide the necessary technical and legal support for the TPR."

He added that MoFT along with experts from UAE entities are taking part in the meetings.

Angelo Silvi, a trade expert, said: "The WTO aims to improve the trade systems through better regulations. We seek to enhance the commitment of all WTO members to the rules."