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WTO NEWS: 1998 PRESS RELEASES

PRESS/89
6 February 1998

Donation by Hong Kong, China, to the WTO trust fund

At a ceremony today (6 February), Stuart Harbinson, the Permanent Representative in Geneva of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, handed over to the World Trade Organization a cheque for US$1.25 million as a contribution to the WTO Trust Fund for technical assistance to less developed economies.

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“I am delighted to present the WTO this donation on behalf of my Government,” said Mr Harbinson. “The WTO does excellent work to provide technical assistance to economies at different stages of development. Much work cannot be funded from the main budget and we are pleased that Hong Kong, China, can make a contribution to this important area of work by the WTO.”

On accepting the donation on behalf of the WTO, Jan-Eirik Sorensen, Director of the WTO Secretariat's Technical Cooperation and Training Division, said: “The WTO is very pleased that Hong Kong, China, has made this generous donation. A key aim of the WTO is to ensure that all Members are fully able to participate in the multilateral trading system. This requires much technical assistance. This donation will help us in achieving this aim.”

Notes to Editors

1.    In September 1995, the Government of Norway made the first contribution to launch the WTO Trust Fund to assist poorer and least-developed countries to participate actively in the WTO and to take advantage of the new opportunities in international trade offered by the WTO Agreement. The Fund is administered by the WTO Secretariat's Technical Cooperation and Training Division.

2.    The funds from the regular WTO budget for technical cooperation and training activities have been supplemented by additional funds, for specific programmes, from several WTO member governments including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.

3.    From January 1995 to July 1997, the WTO organized a total of 250 technical cooperation activities, such as seminars, workshops, training courses, and technical missions.