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Geneva, 13 February 2001
Director-General opens meeting of the Association of former participants in GATT/WTO Trade Policy Courses

Mike Moore, Director-General of the WTO opened yesterday a meeting of former participants of GATT/WTO Trade Policy Courses. Close to seventy delegates representing essentially developing countries and economies in transition, are currently posted in Geneva.

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Addressing the former participants, Mr. Moore said it was very comforting to see how their governments have made a judicious allocation of their resources by appointing them in Geneva. “You are the living proof that the courses are useful and deserve to be supported as a core activity of the WTO Secretariat”, he said. Close to 2000 government representatives have participated in the Trade Policy Courses since their introduction in 1955.

Regretting that currently available resources do not permit to increase substantially the capacity of the organization to contribute to capacity building, Mr. Moore reaffirmed his determination to pursue the matter with a view to expanding and improving the WTO technical assistance and training programme. He underlined that the Residential WTO Trade Policy Courses constitute only one facet of the organization's contribution to strengthening human resources in developing countries and economies in transition. The Director-General also mentioned the project, further down the road, to establish a WTO Trade Policy Academy or Institute.

At the meeting, the participants have decided to reactivate the “Association of Former Participants in GATT/WTO Trade Policy Courses”. Mr. Alberto Dumont, Deputy Permanent Representative of Argentina, has been elected President of the Association and Mr. Mohamed Samir Koubaa, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Tunisia, Secretary/Treasurer of the Association.

Delegates who attended the meeting unanimously welcomed the reactivation of the Association as it will, in an informal and convivial setting, offer an additional forum to share views and opinions on a number of issues of common interest in relation to the evolution of the Multilateral Trading System.