Training and technical assistance by the WTO Secretariat

The WTO Secretariat holds regular training sessions on trade policy in Geneva. In addition, it organizes about 500 technical cooperation activities annually, including seminars and workshops in various countries and courses in Geneva. LDCs benefit from specific courses that address their needs, are entitled to participate in a greater number of national activities per year than other developing countries, and are the main beneficiaries of WTO and mission internship programmes. Funding for technical cooperation and training comes from three sources: the WTO’s regular budget, voluntary contributions from WTO members, and cost-sharing either by countries involved in an event or by international organizations. See also the “China Programme”.

LDCs that are not members of the WTO benefit from support for the accession process.

 

 Available Smooth Transition Procedures:

Utilization by LDCs:

In the survey undertaken by DESA, the following suggestions were offered for how the WTO can improve the effectiveness of its LDC related support measures:

  • Increase awareness and utilization of SDT provisions: The WTO Secretariat should put in more effort in disseminating information about SDT provisions considering the fact that many LDCs have human resource constraints to keep up with updates and Committee meetings. The Secretariat should assist LDCs  to understand how to use these flexibilities and integrate them into their policies, for instance by holding sensitization workshops at the national level or a dedicated forum at the Geneva Week (The Gambia, Lesotho, Uganda).
  • Increase number of WTO technical assistance activities:  One country reported that it, as an LDC, may benefit from three national WTO technical assistance activities per year. The country suggested that LDCs can have more than three national activities per year (Madagascar).
  • Follow up of WTO technical assistance activities:  During the national technical assistance activities, decisions are made or resolutions are passed on follow-up actions. Funding should be provided to implement these decisions. (Madagascar)
  • Strengthen the role of WTO reference centres, so they become a more effective interface between the WTO and the capitals (Mali).
  • The aim of WTO technical assistance:  Some countries were of the view that most of the resources have been directed at building negotiating capacities or understanding the rules while progress on addressing supply side bottleneck or creating a more conducive environment for exports has slackened (Malawi, Tanzania).
  • Modalities of WTO technical assistance:  Many WTO-supported projects require a counterpart contribution from the country for their implementation e.g. provision of facilities for holding a national seminar. The country is sometimes unable to take full advantage of these projects as it is not in a position to provide such contributions. (Mozambique).

Resources:

  1. Understanding the WTO: Developing Countries
  2. Marrakesh Declaration of 15 April 1994
  3. Decision on Measures in Favour of Least-Developed Countries
  4. Guidelines for WTO Technical Cooperation (1996)
  5. A new strategy for WTO technical cooperation: technical cooperation for capacity building, growth and integration (2001), WTO document WT/COMTD/W/90
  6. WTO document WT/COMTD/96, 16 November 2017, Report of the Committee on Trade and Development (2017)
  7. WTO Technical Assistance and Training Courses 2018-2019