Helping developing countries participate more fully in the global trading system is one of the objectives of the WTO. In the CTD, WTO members discuss ways to help developing countries improve their trading capacity so as to increase their economic opportunities and raise living standards.

“The CTD is the focal point for development issues in the WTO and the majority of WTO members are developing countries,” said WTO Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah, who oversees development matters in the WTO Secretariat. “The work of the CTD is therefore of fundamental importance in maintaining the development dimension of the organization.”

The meeting dedicated to the Aid for Trade initiative discussed how to take account of the trade and development challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available here.

At the Dedicated Session on Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), WTO members will consider four RTAs notified by developing countries, with a view to making these trade arrangements more transparent. The Committee is mandated to consider trade arrangements between developing countries under the WTO Enabling Clause.

The agreements to be considered are the Preferential Trade Agreement between the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Free Trade Agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Republic of Korea, the Preferential Trade Agreement between India and Afghanistan, and the accession of Egypt to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Members will consider these agreements based on the provisions of the Transparency Mechanism for Regional Trade Agreements.

A formal meeting of the CTD in Regular Session will also take place on 29 September to discuss trade-related technical assistance and training for developing countries. The WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation will brief members on current technical assistance activities provided by the WTO. Also under discussion will be two reports prepared by the WTO Secretariat: the 2019 Annual Report on the WTO’s technical assistance activities and a plan for monitoring and evaluating these activities. Members will also be briefed on a new simplified procedure for requesting national technical assistance activities online.

In addition to upcoming meetings, the CTD Chair, Ambassador Mohammad Qurban Haqjo of Afghanistan, may hold informal meetings with members in various formats.