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WTO NEWS: 1999 PRESS RELEASES

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26 October 1999

WTO organizes “Geneva Week” for non-resident delegations

An information week arranged for WTO Members and Observers without permanent representation in Geneva will take place from 1 to 5 November at the WTO. Without representatives in Geneva, these Members and Observers are unable to attend all the meetings that are taking place in preparation for the Seattle Ministerial Conference. The WTO and 12 other international organizations are working together on this “Geneva Week” in order to involve representatives from these governments in the preparations and to inform them about technical assistance available from the WTO and other international organizations with offices in Geneva.

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Programme ¦ Keeping non-resident delegations informed

“I want to make sure that all countries participating in WTO work are fully aware of the situation as we approach the Ministerial, and also of the possibilities for trade-related assistance that are available through the WTO and its sister agencies,” said Mike Moore, WTO Director-General, in his invitation to the countries. Mr. Moore first announced his intention to organize the Geneva Week in his speech to the Group of 77 in Marrakesh on 14 September 1999.

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 governments of Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The 28 WTO Members and 9 Observers lack the resources to maintain permanent offices in Geneva. They have difficulty gaining full access to information on WTO's work and being alerted to any action or issue that 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 in the count-down to Seattle, and also to expose them to the work of other relevant agencies in Geneva. 

The 37 countries invited are: Andorra*, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia*, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia*, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Republic of the Fiji Islands, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Laos* P.D.R. of, Macau, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Papua New Guinea, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Samoa*, Seychelles*, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Togo, Tonga*, Uzbekistan*, Vanuatu*.

Agencies invited to make presentations at the Geneva Week include the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Center (ITC), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Labour Office (ILO).

* WTO Observers (negotiating WTO membership)

“Geneva Week” for non-resident delegations
1 - 5 November 1999

“Assisting Integration Into the Trading System”

Programme Back to top

Parts shaded in grey are open to the media

1 November 1999

09-30 - 09.45

Opening Statement by WTO Director General

10.00 - 12.30

Participation in the WTO: opportunities for small developing countries, resources available, and how to use them

Panel discussion at which participants introduce their countries and state their interests and problems relating to participation in the WTO and what they expect from the seminar

14.30 - 17.30

Policy Analysis for and Capacity-Building in developing countries: the contribution of international organizations

Presentation by Secretary General of UNCTAD

Presentation by Secretary-General of WIPO

Presentation by World Bank

Presentation by IMF

Presentation by Executive Director of ITC

17.30 - 18.00

Press Conference (Room B)
By Mike Moore, Rubens Ricupero and Denis Belisle

2 November 1999

 

09.30 - 12.30

Policy Analysis for and Capacity-Building in developing countries (continued)

Presentations by ISO, WCO, FAO, UNEP, UNDP, UNIDO and ILO

14.30 - 17.30

WTO Information and assistance in trade and development matters

Access to information and documentation; WTO training Programmes; technical cooperation for LDCs and other small economies, including the Trade Policy Review Mechanism and the Integrated Framework for LDCs

3 November 1999

 

09.30 - 12.30

Preparation for Seattle: Introduction to the issues

Introduction to the structure and main points of the Ministerial Declaration

14.30 - 17.30

Preparation for Seattle: Implementation

Issues raised in the implementation debate; including accession

4 November 1999

 

09.30 - 12.30

Preparation for Seattle: The Built-in Agenda

Agriculture, services, TRIPs, and other mandated reviews

14.30 - 17.30

Preparation for Seattle: Other elements of the WTO work programme, and immediate decisions at Seattle

Issues from the third part of the Declaration

5 November 1999

 

09.30 - 12.30

Practical arrangements for the Seattle meeting: How will it work? What can delegates expect?

Post-Seattle: How can non-residents participate and follow-up; how can WTO best help them?

12.30 - 12.45

Closing statement by WTO Director General

12.45

Closing Press Conference

Keeping non-resident delegations informed Back to top

Twenty eight WTO Members and 9 WTO Observers do not have permanent delegations in Geneva. Seventeen of them are least-developed countries, many are small economies. Because it is vital for these Members and Observers to keep in touch with WTO matters, the WTO Secretariat has established several information links with them.

First, the WTO is implementing a program of “Reference Centers”. Under this programme, the WTO provides computer equipment, an Internet connection and training for the operation of a WTO Reference Center within each trade ministry of the countries benefitting from the programme.

In practice, this means access to the WTO Internet site which contains up-to-date information on all WTO activities and access to the Document Dissemination Facility which features all WTO official documents. Reference Centres are also supplied with all WTO publications and training materials, both on paper and in CD-ROM format.

To date, equipment and/or training have been provided to the following countries: Angola, Antigua & Barbuda*, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin*, Bhutan, Burkina Faso*, Burundi, Cambodia*, Cape Verde, Central African Republic*, Chad*, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica*, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji*, Gambia*, Ghana, Grenada*, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau*, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos*, Lesotho, Macau*, Madagascar, Malawi*, Maldives*, Mali*, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia*, Nepal, Niger*, Papua New Guinea*, Rwanda, Saint Kitts & Nevis*, Saint Lucia*, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines*, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles*, Solomon Islands*, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Togo*, Kingdom of Tonga*, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Vanuatu*, Zambia.

The network of WTO Reference Centres now extends to 27 of the 37 Members and Observers without permanent delegations in Geneva. The establishment of Reference Centers is part of the “Integrated Technical Assistance Programme” initiated by the WTO, UNCTAD and ITC in July 1996. It is funded by generous donations from WTO Members.

Second, the WTO directly sends information to the European missions of the 37 WTO Members and Observers which do not have permanent delegations in Geneva. To keep them up-to-date on major trade developments, the WTO Secretariat sends missions outside Geneva daily trade news summaries using stories from wire agencies. The WTO Secretariat also faxes them the WTO Daily Bulletin, a summary of all meetings, both future and past. WTO publications are sent regularly to these missions.

* WTO Members and Observers without a permanent delegation in Geneva