Geneva, 22 September 2022
A group of 33 participants from 32 developing countries and customs territories are taking part in an Advanced Course on Trade in Services from 19 to 23 September at the WTO, the first to take place in person since 2019.
Organized jointly by the WTO Trade in Services Division and the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, the course forms part of the WTO’s technical assistance and training activities, aimed at helping developing countries build trade capacity so that they can participate more effectively in global trade.
The objectives of this course are to deepen participants’ understanding of the main provisions of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) by looking at key services provisions and main trends in WTO members’ regional trade agreements and by exploring recent trends and developments in methods of measuring services trade and trade policy analysis. The course also delves into the emerging services policy agenda, such as environmental services, e-commerce and investment facilitation.
In her opening remarks, Deputy Director-General Anabel González stressed the growing role of services trade in the global economy.
“The services sector, for the great majority of countries, accounts for the largest share of domestic production and employment. Services also play a prominent role in the participation of women in the workforce,” she noted.
Touching on the outcome on services domestic regulation adopted by a group of WTO members in 2021, she stated:
“Due to technological changes and the rise of the knowledge economy, the importance of services will only increase in the future. For the WTO, the challenge is to keep abreast of these changes and to provide a framework of rules in which trade can flourish without neglecting regulatory concerns of members.”
Ms María Florencia Iborra, one of the course participants and economic analyst with Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said:
“I hope this training will help me improve my knowledge of trade in services so that I can support public officials in negotiating new and more comprehensive trade agreements. Services are becoming one of the most important subjects in trade so it is very important to be properly prepared to explore all the possibilities that they can offer to our economies.”
Jan Redmond Dela Vega, Senior Trade-Industry Development Specialist at the Bureau of International Trade Relations of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry, said that the advanced course was timely given new and emerging disciplines on services being pursued by WTO members at the multilateral level alongside global efforts to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“By bringing in WTO services negotiators, technical experts on international trade, and government officials from various WTO members and observers, the course will allow us to deepen our understanding and analysis of the current trends and issues in trade in services, such as on domestic regulation and environmental services, and of the increasing relevance of e-commerce, among other topics. This will prove useful as we are involved in ongoing trade negotiations as well as in communicating with stakeholders and the private sector back home about the benefits of engagement in services trade,” he added.
The course programme is available here.
Source – WTO