WTO launches first online regional trade policy course for Latin American countries

Twenty-three government officials from ten WTO members are attending the WTO’s first online Regional Trade Policy Course for Latin American countries taking place from August 9 to November 12, 2021. Co-organised with El Colegio de México, the course seeks to extend participants’ knowledge and understanding of the multilateral trading system and the work of the WTO and build their trade-related capacity.

The participants come from the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

The course was opened by the Training Section Head of the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, Jorge Castro, and the General Secretary of El Colegio de México, Dr Gustavo Vega.

“Despite its challenges, the online nature of the online regional trade policy course has facilitated access to, and closer collaboration with, a broad coalition of experts, international institutions, and partners engaged in capacity-building in the areas of regional and multilateral trade,” said Mr Castro.

“The course aims to show that the role of the multilateral trade system — embodied in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the WTO — is of crucial importance in promoting the growth and development of nations and, in particular, in resolving the economic crises that we have experienced since the second half of the last century,” Dr Vega said. “It is our great pleasure to participate once again as partners of the WTO in the delivery of the Regional Trade Policy Course.”

New interactive sessions will be organized during the course with various partners, including the International Trade Centre, the Standards and Trade Development Facility and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. During these “lobby sessions”, participants will learn about the work carried out by other multilateral and regional trade-related organizations and the impact on Latin American countries.  The course will conclude with a roundtable discussion, open to the public, on a trade-related theme relevant to Latin America. A registration link will be made available in due course.

The course seeks to ensure that participants can still benefit from trade-related technical assistance activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It mirrors most of the training components offered by face-to-face courses, including the WTO Agreements, the Organization’s rules and procedures and regional trade policy issues.

The course provides intermediate level training (known as “level 2” in the WTO Progressive Learning Strategy) and is designed for government officials from various government agencies with experience on trade-related issues who have undertaken basic WTO training. It will provide a mix of self-learning, interactive case studies and exercises, and live face-to-face webinars by WTO experts and Latin American trade-policy academics and practitioners.