The NTP is a joint initiative of the WTO and the Netherlands aimed at improving participants' trade expertise. Officials taking part in this year's edition are from Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Latin America. The participants were accompanied on their study trip by Willie Chatsika, Head of the English-speaking Africa Regional Desk in the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC).

The annual study trip was coordinated by the Clingendael Institute, an independent academic and research institution engaged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, under the framework of the NTP. The main objectives of the study trip were to enhance the participants’ trade policy-making skills, enable them to gain insight into how the needs of different national stakeholders are translated into trade policy, and to learn more about the nexus between international trade and development.

During the study trip, participants were given first-hand exposure to the formulation of trade policy, at both the national and EU level, during various presentations by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Independent experts also presented the various issues under discussion in the multilateral trade sphere as well as the impact of the changing patterns in international trade.

The study trip also included visits to selected institutions in The Hague which have an input in trade policy formulation. These were the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, and the Innovation Quarter. The trip also included a guided tour of the Port of Rotterdam, a major gateway for international trade.  

The NTP  is a ten-month internship programme undertaken in the WTO Secretariat and funded by the Government of the Netherlands, with the aim of assisting in the economic and social development of least developed countries (LDCs), other low-income countries and comparable poor, small and vulnerable economies in areas related to trade policy, with a particular focus on Africa.

The NTP provides junior to mid-level government officials from selected countries with the opportunity to learn about the WTO work programme and the functioning of the WTO Secretariat in general under the direction of staff members from various divisions of the WTO for a period of 10 months.

The 2023 NTP cohort comprises 16 government officials, whose diversity reflects the different targets of the programme — a focus on LDCs and Africa, geographical diversity, and gender balance. Seven of the participants are from Africa (Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria and Sudan) and five are from Asia (Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan). Four participants are from Central and Eastern Europe (Georgia); Central Asia (Uzbekistan); Latin America (Ecuador) and the Pacific (Tonga). Six of the countries represented are LDCs, and eight of the 16 participants are women.

The NTP was launched in 2005 and has been regularly renewed. The last renewal was in December 2022 for the period 2023-28.




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