The WTO members and observers represented are Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
The course is organized by the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) and was opened by its Director, Bridget Chilala, who welcomed the high number of women among the participants – 12 out of 16 – which is “the highest registered for a trade policy course for this region”.
Ms Chilala said that this course will allow participants to improve their capacity to work on international trade issues and strengthen their networks of contacts with colleagues and WTO experts. It will cover 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”, she added.
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 will consist 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 will also provide for several round tables addressing contemporary multilateral and regional trade issues. Participants will be evaluated through weekly exams.