The Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender, established on 23 September 2020, seeks to intensify efforts to increase women's participation in global trade.  

“Following consultations held with members and based on the comments received last month, the co-chairs have finalised the work plan 2023-24 and have circulated it on 7 June 2023. We are launching it today under our names, as co-chairs,” Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland said.

Ambassador Gunnarsson said that under the work plan, members will continue deepening activities on data collection methodologies on trade and gender, expand engagement to further integrate gender issues into members' Trade Policy Reviews, develop a draft framework on how to “apply a gender lens to the WTO,” and continue work on female entrepreneurship and Aid for Trade. 

“The work plan establishes tentative timelines and deadlines for the completion of our work. This is crucial if we want to move away from simply discussing to acting,” he said at the meeting.

Appointment of new co-chairs

The Informal Working Group welcomed the appointment of new co-chairs Ambassador Clara Manuela da Luz Delgado Jesus of Cabo Verde and Ambassador Simon Manley of the United Kingdom, to replace Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme of Botswana who previously announced her departure as co-chair, and Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland for whom it was the last meeting. Ambassador Ana Patricia Benedetti Zelaya of El Salvador remains as a co-chair.

Updates and presentations

Ecuador and Costa Rica informed members that they joined in May 2023 the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA), which promotes the adoption of trade and gender policies to further women's economic empowerment. GTAGA was founded by Canada, Chile and New Zealand, and also counts as members Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

Peru briefed members about a session held last week at the meeting of the WTO Committee on Trade in Financial Services, which focused on women's financial inclusion. Financial empowerment for women has tangible benefits, Peru said, including a notable expansion of the workforce, higher wages, entrepreneurship, and the strengthening of the economy. Peru said members may have a deeper look into these issues as part of the regular work of the Committee.

Members heard updates on various work on gender and intellectual property rights from the World Intellectual Property Organization, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Ecuador- They were also updated on the links between e-commerce and women's economic empowerment from TradeExperettes and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The WTO Secretariat furthermore highlighted the upcoming Youth Trade Summit on Gender, which will be held on 13-14 November in Geneva to promote opportunities for young professionals and researchers to engage in discussions on trade and gender issues. The nomination process for researchers and government professionals aged 20-35 to participate in the summit is open until 10 July.




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