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WTO NEWS: 2000 PRESS RELEASES

Press/195
16 October 2000
WTO organizes second “Geneva Week” for non-resident delegations
21-27 October 2000

An information week for WTO Members and Observers without permanent representation in Geneva will take place from 21 to 27 October at the WTO. The “Geneva Week” is designed to bring up to date on WTO activities those WTO Members and Observers who are unable to attend WTO meetings in Geneva. The WTO, in cooperation with 13 other international organizations, is organizing this Geneva Week to give representatives from these governments reports on different areas covered by the WTO and to inform them about technical assistance in these fields.

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“All countries participating in the WTO system, including rich and poor, large and small, must be fully aware of the on-going work and discussions in the organization, and also the possibilities for trade-related assistance that are available through the WTO and its sister agencies. Through annual sessions of the Geneva Week and also through constant communication we are helping our smaller Members and Observers to participate better in the WTO process. It is a way of increasing participation and transparency,” said Mike Moore, WTO Director-General.

The Geneva week will start with a Seminar on Small Economies open to all WTO Members and Observers. It will end with the 31st session of the Committee on Trade and Development. During the week, there will also be a discussion on electronic commerce open to all Members and Observers.

Thirty-seven WTO Members and Observers will attend the Geneva Week. Invitations were sent both to their Trade Ministries and their permanent delegations in Europe. Their presence is funded by the Swedish government, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Trade Center (ITC).

A first “Geneva Week” was successfully held in November 1999. This year, the Geneva Week will focus on the on-going work programme, including implementation of WTO agreements; mandated negotiations in agriculture, services and intellectual property; electronic commerce; and technical cooperation.

The 28 WTO Members and 9 Observers participating in Geneva Week lack the resources to maintain permanent offices in Geneva. They have difficulty accessing all the available information on WTO's work and monitoring actions or issues they may need to consider. This information week therefore intends to help non-resident WTO Members and Observers inform themselves about the work going on in the WTO, and also expose them to the work of other relevant agencies in Geneva.

The 37 countries invited are: Andorra; Antigua & Barbuda; Armenia; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Central African Republic; Chad; Democratic Republic of Congo; Dominica; Republic of the Fiji Islands; Gambia; Grenada; Guinea Bissau; Guyana; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Macau, China; Malawi; Maldives; Mali; Namibia; Niger; Papua New Guinea; Samoa; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent & the Grenadines; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; Suriname; Swaziland; Togo; Tonga; Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.

Agencies invited to make presentations at the Geneva Week are: the African Caribbean Pacific General Secretariat (ACP), the Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC), the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Forum Secretariat, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Bank and the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

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