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The WTO provided training to the Reference Centre Manager and senior officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a number of areas. This included accessing WTO information resources — including tariff profiles and commitments of WTO members, the Global Technical Assistance Database (GTAD) and other WTO databases, reports of WTO bodies and developments in the Doha Round negotiations. Specific empirical exercises (trade and tariff illustrations) relevant to the Rwandan economy were carried out by the participants. The Reference Centre Manager and officials also received training on information management techniques to assist them in better organizing and providing access to WTO information resources, with a particular focus on Rwanda. The Centre will be accessible to the general public, the private sector and academics. 

The Minister of Trade and Industry, H.E. François Kanimba, welcomed the WTO delegation and warmly thanked the WTO Secretariat for establishing the Reference Centre. He indicated that the establishment of this Centre was timely and would respond to the specific needs of Ministry staff, in particular in terms of finding trade-related information. He indicated that the Centre would also be used as a learning centre where officials from the Ministry would be encouraged to benefit from the e-learning activities proposed by the WTO.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Hategeka, underlined the importance of the technical assistance provided by the WTO. He reaffirmed that staff would highly appreciate the facilities provided through the establishment of this Centre.

During the opening ceremony of the training seminar, the Director-General of the Trade and Investment General Directorate, Ms Kaliza Karuretwa, expressed her appreciation for the trade-related technical assistance received from the WTO, particularly the national and regional seminars in which many officials had been invited to participate. Those seminars, she said, help to reinforce the technical capacities of the officials.

All participants learned about the WTO Tariff Analysis Online, which provides analytical tools, and the Integrated Database (IDB) and the Consolidated Tariff Schedules Database (CTS). The participants were able to carry out exercises on these tools and generate reports. The participants also learned about the Tariff Download Facility and the online aggregated version of the IDB and CTS database at the HS 6-digit level. Many of them were made aware for the first time of how to gain access to these data and how to download them.

The WTO purchased three computers, three printers, two scanners, one video projector and a photocopier for the use of the Reference Centre, and donated a number of WTO publications. Electronic copies of key WTO documents were installed on each computer, which would also provide access to relevant statistical and trade databases.

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