The UAE is already a global trade and communication hub, and it is actively planning to expand this role in the world economy, as exemplified by Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020 which will help define the UAE as one of the world’s leading business hubs. This means that from the economic point of view, the UAE should no longer think of itself as a Gulf state with a global role, but needs a rethink of itself as a global state that is positioned in the Gulf.

All this will require it to work to the highest competitive standards so that the world’s leading companies are anxious to make the UAE a natural part of their global planning. Such a shift covers a wide range of very different activities like infrastructure, regulation, manpower availability, ease of doing business, and ensuring that the whole social environment supports people coming to do business. This long-term strategy is the background to the cabinet decision to support the development of the UAE as a safe and investment-friendly destination conducive to knowledge-based innovation and entrepreneurship. Part of this was the cabinet’s decision this week to approve the UAE’s obligations under the Trade Facilitation Agreement from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is designed to simplify procedures relevant to import and export, and cut costs by using more e-procedures.

The WTO has worked tirelessly to promote free global trade and open up protectionist markets. It has had astonishing success over its decades of hard work, greatly increasing world prosperity, and the UAE is an important part of that success.