WTO TRAINING COURSES

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The “Trade and Health Workshop” is an advanced and multidisciplinary activity. It was organized by the WTO Secretariat, in close collaboration with the secretariats of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It followed the approach developed in the WHO-WIPO-WTO Trilateral Study “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between Public Health, Intellectual Property and Trade”.

The programme of the workshop has evolved over the last 13 years to cover the link between trade and public health in a comprehensive and multidisciplinary manner in order to build the capacity of governments in developing countries and LDCs to take effective and coherent policy decisions.

The aspects covered by the workshop included: public health determinants; the intellectual property system; pricing and procurement policies; competition policy and rules; tariffs, quotas and licensing; health services; and regulatory issues.  Under regulatory issues, participants looked at approval, quality control and effectiveness of medicines, the protection of clinical trial data under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and health-related measures in the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).

Thirty-four speakers from international organizations and the private sector shared their experience and facilitated interactive debates on cross-cutting themes linking trade agreements to topical issues, such as antimicrobial resistance and non-communicable diseases. Participants also contributed actively to case studies over the course of the week. For the first time, this year's programme included a field visit to a manufacturer of medical devices.

The 28 participants are currently working in health, trade or intellectual property areas and came from: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, Serbia, Singapore, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and Vanuatu. The group also included one participant from Canada and one from Estonia, as well as one from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In their feedback, participants welcomed the workshop as a useful tool to look at public health challenges through different lenses.

The next Trade and Public Health Workshop will be organized in the autumn of 2019. To respond to demands by members, the WTO also holds tailor-made regional activities on issues at the crossroads between trade and health. The first regional activity took place in Brazil for countries from the Latin American region (21-23 November 2017); the second will be jointly organized with WHO and WIPO in Kuwait, for Arab and Middle Eastern countries (8 to 22 November 2018); and the third is envisaged to take place in Burkina Faso for the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) member states, in early 2019.

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