The training activity for Latin America was the fourth eRTPC that the WTO has delivered since it halted face-to-face RTPCs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first one for the Latin-American region. The governments represented at the eRTPC were the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, México, Paraguay, Peru   and Uruguay.

Organized by the WTO's Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC), in partnership with El Colegio de México, the eRTPC blended innovative online training tools with traditional in-person WTO trade-related technical assistance. The course successfully recreated most of the key features of the face-to-face RTPC, including developing understanding of the WTO agreements and related resources, improving trade-related regional expertise, and supporting institutional capacity building through partnership arrangements with trade-related institutions.

In her keynote video address delivered at the closing ceremony, ITTC Director Bridget Chilala highlighted that the course had taken place at a critical moment for global trade, which was severely impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic. She noted that WTO members were grappling with how to ensure that international trade continued to play a crucial role in economic recovery, development, and addressing poverty and inequality.

Ms Chilala said that the course participants had “picked an opportune time to learn more about the WTO and what it stands for, and to explore together the challenges and opportunities that the multilateral trading system provides”.

In his closing remarks, Dr Gustavo Vega, Professor-Researcher at the Centre for International Studies of El Colegio de México, congratulated the participants on their successful completion of the 14-week course. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity granted by the ITTC to El Colegio de Mexico to play a crucial role in this project and looked forward to future collaborative opportunities with the WTO.

The participants expressed appreciation for the eRTPC, noting that the training had equipped them with the knowledge and tools to confidently engage in trade-related discussions and to assist their governments in making better informed decisions. The participants also welcomed the opportunity to meet and interact with a wide range of WTO professionals, regional experts and other Latin American government officials, with whom they hoped to continue engaging. The participants' testimonials can be viewed here.

The eRTPC's training programme was broad in scope, building upon the solid foundations of the face‑to‑face RTPCs by maximising the opportunities that online training provided, such as access to a wider range of expertise within the WTO community. The eRTPC also offered the WTO Secretariat an opportunity for greater collaboration with other trade-related capacity-building institutions from the Latin American region. Through the “Tuesday lobby sessions”, participants in the eRTPC gained knowledge of the practical impact of international trade in Latin America through webinars showcasing the trade-related work of institutions such as the El Colegio de México, the International Trade Centre, the Standards and Trade Development Facility, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, TradeTankMx, the Group of Latin America and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law.

In addition, on 10 November 2021, the eRTPC hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies. This discussion brought together several distinguished trade and fisheries experts from the Latin American region to examine the issue of fisheries subsidies and the implications of new rules for the Latin American region. The event was opened to the public, mostly from Latin America and Europe, including government, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. A summary, including a recording of the roundtable discussion, can be viewed here.




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