The Netherlands Trainee Programme invited 16 participants to be based within the WTO Secretariat for ten months while the French and Irish Mission Internship Programme and the Regional Coordinator Internship Programme brought 27 participants to Geneva to work within the Permanent Missions of several WTO members.

Congratulating the participants on completing their respective programmes, WTO Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam said: “Over the last ten months, you have had first-hand access to just about all the activities that happen at the WTO, including the intense preparations and negotiations that take place before a Ministerial Conference, which is the case now as members are preparing for the 13th Ministerial Conference. Your presence has been very valuable to the WTO Secretariat and your Permanent Missions. Your perspectives and experiences have enriched the Secretariat's work, where inclusivity and diversity are at the core of our activities.”

The 22 participants in the French-Irish Mission Internship Programme this year constituted the 23rd cohort of this programme funded by France and Ireland. It allowed trade officials from developing economies and least-developed countries (LDCs) to gain practical experience of the functioning of the WTO. “A programme that is valued by all and that France is proud to be co-financing,” said Etienne Oudot De Dainville, France's Permanent Representative to the WTO. “The WTO must benefit all its members.”

Finiavana Mirindra Rasamizanaka, Head of Bilateral Trade Agreements at Madagascar's Ministry of Trade, who participated in the programme, said: “We are grateful for this opportunity. It has enabled us to gain a solid understanding of how the WTO works, the negotiation process in WTO regional groups and the multilateral trading system.”

Ireland's Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO, Clare Mcnamara, said: “Ireland is very proud of our long-standing support to the French and Irish Mission Internship Programme. Ireland’s development co-operation programme — which lies at the heart of our foreign policy — recognises that inclusive and sustainable international trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty.”

The Netherlands Trainee Programme gathered together the 18th cohort since its inception in 2005. It is funded by the government of the Netherlands primarily for the benefit of LDCs and low income developing economies, with a special emphasis on Africa.

Welcoming the trainees' dedication and hard work, the Netherlands' WTO Deputy Permanent Representative, Audrey Goosen, called on participants to put the gained expertise to good use and to “be ambassadors for the WTO and the programme”.

One of the participants, Yousaf Rasool, Deputy Director of the Agro Programme of Pakistan's Ministry of Commerce, said: “The Netherlands Trainee Programme provided a useful platform to all of us to work in the WTO Secretariat, hone our skills, develop linkages for future collaborations, get familiarized with the working of the multilateral trading system, and learn to navigate through the legal text of the multilateral trading system.”

Funded by the WTO's Global Trust Fund, this year's edition of the Regional Coordinator Internship Programme hosted five participants. One of the participants, Timoci Bogidua, Economic Planning Officer at Fiji's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “The programme gave us the opportunity to experience first-hand how the WTO works. We have seen the adoption of the Decision on the Extension of Unilateral Duty Free and Quota Free Preferences in favour of graduating LDCs, we have also seen the successful Dedicated Session on Transit and the Transit Workshop for Landlocked Developing Countries as well as Fiji’s 4th Trade Policy Review.”




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