TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT
DG Okonjo-Iweala stressed that the work of the WTO is important for developing and least developed countries (LDCs), hence, it is critical for the WTO to deliver on issues of importance to them. Trade is a significant driver for economic growth and poverty reduction and ultimately for development, she added.
“At the end of the day, our work in the WTO must have real impact on people's lives and must produce real benefits, particularly for poorer countries,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said.
DG Okonjo-Iweala noted the work of the CTD and its role as a focal point for coordination on development issues in the WTO, and she praised members for reaching an agreement in the CTD's Dedicated Session on Small Economies on a MC12 Decision on small economies’ integration into the trading system.
The Director-General highlighted the technical assistance provided by the WTO Secretariat and encouraged developing countries, in particular LDCs, to take advantage of the range of assistance offered by the WTO. She further highlighted the WTO Chairs Programme, which she said has an essential role in building human and institutional capacities in beneficiary countries in order to allow them to take full advantage of the rules-based multilateral trading system. She informed the Committee that new Chairs will be joining the programme soon.
DG Okonjo-Iweala also noted that the ongoing review of duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs, the implementation of the Aid for Trade work programme, work to enhance transparency in regional trade agreements and preferential trade arrangements are also vital areas of the CTD's work that need to be paid attention to.
The Director-General encouraged members to work closely to make the CTD a vibrant forum for discussions on trade and development, and work towards concrete outcomes that benefit developing countries and LDCs. She assured members that she would continue to follow the discussions of the CTD and stressed its work is essential for the development dimension of the WTO's functions.
The 116th meeting of the CTD on 10 November was chaired by Ambassador Muhammad Mujtaba Piracha of Pakistan. Members discussed technical cooperation and training, adopting the Biennial Technical Assistance and Training Plan for 2022-2023 and taking note of the Technical Assistance Monitoring and Evaluation Plan 2022-2023.
Members were also briefed on the WTO Chairs programme, and addressed a number of other issues, including duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs, and the WTO work programme on electronic commerce. The Secretariat presented the findings of its latest report concerning the participation of developing economies in global trade.
The next meeting of the Committee on Trade and Development is tentatively scheduled for 30 March 2022.