WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

3 May 2002

WTO-Arab Monetary Fund to cooperate on trade-related technical assistance and capacity building for Arab countries

World Trade Organization Director-General Mr. Mike Moore and Arab Monetary Fund Director-General Dr. Jassim Al-Mannai today (3 May 2002) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish cooperation between the two institutions. The aim of the MOU is to provide technical assistance and capacity building to enhance the participation of Arab countries in the multilateral trading system and the trade negotiations.

The MOU was signed at the headquarters of the WTO in Geneva, on the margin of a meeting of heads of regional development banks to discuss their role in implementation of the Doha Development Agenda.

In order to help Arab member/observer countries meet their multilateral trade challenges, the WTO and the AMF, through joint effort and within their respective resources and mandates will provide technical assistance and capacity building to the Arab countries in a cost effective and coherent manner.

The importance of capacity-building was highlighted in the recent Doha Ministerial Declaration, in which WTO members sought to place the priorities and interests of developing countries and least developed countries at the heart of the WTO’s work program.

In the signing ceremony Mr. Moore, welcomed the MOU and said that this will be the beginning of a fruitful and pragmatic working relationship with the AMF to better serve Arab member/observer countries. Currently, 11 Arab countries are members of the WTO, five others are in the process of accession and two other countries have submitted their application for membership.

The singing of the MOU is part of an Arab strategy that was developed by the Secretariat of the WTO. The purpose of this strategy is to ensure that Arab interests, priorities and concerns are taken into account in the work of the WTO. The AMF and WTO agreed to organize joint activities in the following areas:

  • WTO short trade policy courses;
  • regional and sub-regional workshops;
  • capacity building for Arab negotiators;
  • support of Trade Policy Review; and
  • support for acceding countries.