The participants are from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
The course was opened by WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang, China's Vice Minister of Commerce Mr Shouwen Wang and Professor Rongming Wang, President of the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE).
DDG Zhang said that it was an opportune time for participants to learn more about the WTO and what it stands for. The participants would explore the challenges that the multilateral trading system is currently facing and the opportunities that the WTO agreements provide, he added.
Professor Wang expressed gratitude for SUIBE's growing partnership with the WTO, including as a WTO Chair and highlighted that with the concerted effort of both institutions, the eRTPC would achieve fruitful results.
Organized by the WTO's Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation in partnership with SUIBE, the course seeks to ensure that trade-related technical assistance continues to be available despite limitations on face-to-face training due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual regional course offers most of the training components offered by face-to-face courses. The current course is an intermediate training activity specifically designed for government officials with trade-related experience and who have undertaken basic WTO training. Its curriculum covers the WTO agreements, its rules and procedures, and regional trade policy issues. The course will consist of self-learning, interactive case studies and exercises, and face-to-face webinars. It will be conducted by WTO experts and trade-policy experts from the Asia-Pacific region.
Despite its challenges, the online nature of the course has facilitated easier access to, and closer collaboration with, a broader range of experts, international institutions and partners that are also engaged in capacity-building in the areas of regional and multilateral trade.
The course will host, on a weekly basis, information sessions that showcase the trade-related work conducted by other multilateral and regional organizations, such as the International Trade Centre and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. This will provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the practical impact of international and regional trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
The course will conclude with a roundtable discussion open to the public on a trade-related topic of current relevance to the Asia Pacific region.