Beirut, 17 February 2003 (United Nations Information Service)--Under
the auspices of the Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water, Mr.
Mohammed Abdelhamid Beydoun, the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is organizing an expert
group meeting on "Regional Energy Services and WTO Implications"
on 20-21 February 2003 at the United Nations House in Beirut.
The Meeting, which will open at 10:00 on Thursday 20 February, is
intended to determine the nature of services related to trade in
the energy sector in Arab countries; review and assess the
development in the energy services sector in Arab countries;
review the position of Arab countries regarding the General
Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), particularly regarding
energy services; and enable Arab countries to contribute to the
current and future negotiations related to energy services.
The economic importance of energy sector in the economies of Arab
countries; the future of oil and gas in light of current
international development including trade liberalization; the
future of other energy sources; the current negotiations on energy
services in the World Trade Organization (WTO); the position of
developing countries, in general, and of Arab countries, in
particular, in the negotiations; and the constraints facing energy
services will be the main subjects for discussions.
Participants in the Meeting will be officials on energy and trade
sectors in the Arab countries; negotiators in the area of trade in
services and energy sectors; Arab and international experts; as
well as representatives from WTO, the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the
Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), the
League of Arab States (LAS) and from concerned Arab and regional