WTO discusses COVID-19 impact on trade in Arab, Mideast region - GulfToday

WTO discusses COVID-19 impact on trade in Arab, Mideast region

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The debate was organised as part of the WTO’s online Regional Trade Policy Course for WTO members and observers in the Arab and Middle Eastern region.

Key trade negotiators, decision makers and private sector representatives from Arab and Middle Eastern countries discussed contemporary trade policy issues in the region, including the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, in a roundtable discussion held online.

The debate was organised as part of the WTO’s online Regional Trade Policy Course for WTO members and observers in the Arab and Middle Eastern region.

The discussion, entitled “Digital Trade and Economic Development of Arab and Middle Eastern countries”, comprised speakers from the Arab and Middle Eastern region and the Geneva-based trade community.

The themes under discussion were: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region’s economy and the growth of digital trade in traditional economic activity, the importance of digital trade to the region’s economic diversification, and the private sector’s perspective on digital solutions for financial inclusion.

The discussion took place during the WTO’s first online Regional Trade Policy Course for WTO members and observers in the Arab and Middle Eastern region. The course was held from 7 December 2020 to 25 March 2021 with the participation of 16 government officials.

This course is one of several online training activities organised by the WTO Secretariat to ensure trade-related technical assistance continues to be made available to government officials from WTO members and observers in spite of the pandemic.

Organised by the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, the course aimed to replicate most of the training components offered by face-to-face regional trade policy courses. It touched upon the WTO agreements, trade rules and procedures, and regional trade policy issues.

It is consisted of self-learning, interactive case studies and exercises and live webinars by WTO experts and trade-policy academics and practitioners from the region.

The course was launched for Arab and Middle Eastern states in December last year.

The objective is to build their expertise on various aspects of trade and the work of the WTO.

The WTO members and observers are Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

the course allow participants to improve their capacity to work on international trade issues and strengthen their networks of contacts with colleagues and WTO experts. It covered the legal side of the WTO Agreements as well as the economic implications of these rules and disciplines for the participants’ countries, thus giving the participants the skills needed for shaping their countries’ trade policies. The challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic bring an opportunity “to collectively remind ourselves of the foundations on which the multilateral trading system was built.

The course aims to reproduce most of the training components offered by face-to-face regional trade policy courses. It provides intermediate-level training (known as ‘level 2’ in the WTO progressive learning strategy) and is specifically designed for government officials working on trade-related issues who have already undertaken basic WTO training.

The curriculum covers the WTO Agreements, the Organization’s rules and procedures and trade policy issues related to the Arab and Middle Eastern region. The course consists of self-learning, interactive case studies and exercises and live face-to-face webinars by WTO experts and trade-policy academics and practitioners from the region. The course also provide for several round tables addressing contemporary multilateral and regional trade issues.

The most thorough training on the WTO is provided through the Trade policy courses, which last eight weeks. These are held in Geneva and elsewhere. The purpose of the trade policy courses is to ensure that participants improve their understanding of all WTO-related issues, develop practical skills and extend their network of contacts. They also serve as a general introduction for those who may become specialists at a later stage.

Advanced trade policy courses (ATPCs) are undertaken at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. They comprise a series of interactive modules - with lectures, exercises and simulations covering all the areas of work of the WTO. They also include visits to other international organizations active in trade-related matters as well as attendance at selected meetings of WTO bodies

Intermediate/regional trade policy courses (RTPCs), are aimed at generalists at level 2 of the WTO’s Progressive Learning Strategy. They are delivered in partnership with an institution of higher learning in different regions of the world. Government officials from a specific region participate in the training, and the courses adapt to regional needs in terms of number of participants from each country.

 

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