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WTO NEWS: 2000 PRESS RELEASES

Press/162
25 January 2000

Germany contributes to WTO’s global trust fund

The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany today signed an Arrangement with the WTO to contribute DM 1 million (approximately CHF 820,000) to the WTO Global Trust Fund. The Fund was established in July 1999 to receive extra-budgetary donations from WTO Members to finance technical cooperation activities carried out by the WTO.

The German contribution, which will be disbursed over a four year period, is to be used to undertake Trade Policy Reviews for developing countries and to improve the Trade Policy Review Mechanism and better adapt it to the specific requirements of developing countries.

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A recent Appraisal of the Mechanism Members drew attention to the technical assistance value of Trade Policy Reviews, which provide an overview of the relevant Member's economy and the role of trade policy in achieving the member's development aims. The Reviews also facilitate the identification and prioritization of further technical cooperation requirements. The Appraisal urged that all Members, including least-developed countries, be reviewed at least once and as soon as possible. The German contribution to the Global Trust Fund will facilitate this objective, particularly with respect to least-developed countries.

“I welcome Germany's generous contribution to the Fund“, said WTO Director-General Mike Moore. “Since the WTO was formed, demand for technical assistance has increased dramatically. We are doing our best to respond to these demands, on our own and in cooperation with other international organizations.”

“The WTO’s regular budget for technical assistance of CHF 741,000 is insufficient to meet all the demands of developing and least-developed countries, as well as the needs of economies in transition, to enable them to engage more fully in the trading system. In recent years, these funds have largely been supplemented by generous contributions from countries such as Germany to support important programmes for development.”

The Director-General has called on WTO Member governments to raise the budget for technical assistance to CHF 10 million to better meet the demand of developing countries. A group of countries have proposed that such a figure shall be included in the regular WTO budget if Members agree to this. It is proposed that the figure shall be phased in over a three-year period starting from the year 2000.