Trade Policy Development - WTO
World Trade Organization
Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne 154,
CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 739 5111
Fax: +41 22 731 4206
E-mail: enquiries [at] wto.org ()
The main objectives of the WTO Trade-related TA are the following:
Key Result 1: Government officials are implementing WTO Agreements and making full use of Members' rights;
Key Result 2: Acceding governments are participating in accession negotiations, in line with WTO accession processes and procedures;
Key Result 3: Members are accessing and using the most recent and relevant WTO-related information and data enabling them to better enforce their rights and obligations;
Key Result 4: MPs, journalists and civil society are interacting with WTO; and students or academic institutions supported by WTO are dealing with trade policy and WTO-related subjects.
To achieve these key results, the WTO prepares biennial Technical Assistance and Training Plans (‘TA Plans’), which provide the WTO Secretariat’s framework for the delivery of all TA activities. General information on the TA activities implemented or planned by the WTO can be found in the Global Trade-related Technical Assistance Database (GTAD) at: http://gtad.wto.org.
The current biennial Technical Assistance Plan 2016-2017 (WT/COMTD/W/211) (the TA Plan) covers all trade capacity building activities to be undertaken during the biennium. It is designed to manage the TA provided by the WTO on the basis of the results achieved, according to a set of agreed performance indicators and pre-defined targets. These elements are regrouped in a logical framework which guides the action of the Secretariat when responding to WTO Members' TA needs.
The TA Plan gives priority to LDCs and African countries. It is structured around the four main Key Results identified above and features a range of products designed to support their achievement. Since 2010, the WTO implements a progressive learning strategy based on three successive levels of learning – introduction, intermediate and advanced – for both generalists (professionals who need to know something about almost every trade-related subject) and specialists (professionals who concentrate on one WTO Agreement or a limited number of trade-related subjects). Less than 10% of the TA activities fall outside of this progressive learning structure (mainly outreach activities for non-governmental audiences under Key Result 4). In principle, the WTO TA is available in English, French or Spanish.
The WTO delivers TA through three main modes of delivery: online courses, face-to-face seminars or workshops, and internships. More than half of the participants are now trained online. The online courses concentrate on the introductory and intermediate levels of learning. A wide range of online courses are available for developing Members and Observers on the WTO Agreements and trade-related subjects through the WTO eCampus website (https://ecampus.wto.org). A limited number of internships are available every year (approximately 50), whether in the Secretariat or in small country permanent missions in Geneva. Internships tend to be reserved to participants who have already achieved an advanced level of knowledge on WTO or trade-related issues. All the other TA beneficiaries participate in face-to-face activities organized either in the field or in Geneva. These activities may be national, regional or global, depending on the needs and objectives to which they are responding. They may be for generalists or specialists, at any of the three levels of learning, depending on the public targeted.
For example, for generalists, the WTO holds on average three advanced trade policy courses each year in Geneva, and six intermediate trade policy courses in the field. For specialists, advanced thematic training courses are organized in Geneva. Seminars, for generalists or specialists, are also held regularly in all regions of the world, at the introductory, intermediate or advanced level, with a special focus on LDCS and Africa.
Under Key Result 4, the WTO aims to increase the involvement of non-governmental stakeholders such as academics, Members of Parliaments, journalists, the private sector and civil society in trade policy and WTO-related issues by supporting the development of their understanding and institutional capacities and promoting their contribution to trade policy making. These outreach activities frequently involve cooperation with some universities or partners.
In complement to TA activities, the WTO website, specific newsletters and social media are increasingly used to keep in touch with current and former TA participants and feed them with up-to-date information on the WTO and its work.
The WTO cooperates with a large number of partners when providing TA to its Members and Observers: approximately half of its TA activities involve at least one partner. In 2016, the WTO cooperated with 144 different partners to deliver better tailored TA to beneficiaries in a cost-efficient manner. For example, under Key Result 1, most TA activities in the field of Intellectual Property benefit from the involvement of long-time partners such as WIPO and WHO; under Key Result 4, outreach activities for academia, MPs, civil society, and media are organized quasi-exclusively through longstanding partnerships with various academic institutions, foundations, parliamentary associations, etc. National activities are also systematically organized in partnership with the local authorities, and many regional activities involve local or regional institutions.
The WTO is an active member of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) for trade-related TA to LDCs and of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) to support developing countries' capacity to implement Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards so they can gain or maintain access to markets.