WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

22 November 2001

Sweden gives CHF 1.2m to help least-developed countries

Sweden has donated 8 million Swedish Krona (1.2 million Swiss francs) to help developing countries — and the least developed in particular — improve their ability to negotiate in the WTO and to implement WTO agreements.

The money, received on 1 November 2001, is a third contribution from Sweden to the WTO Global Trust Fund for technical cooperation. The first two were for SEK 5m (Swiss francs 1m) in 1999 and SEK 7m (Swiss francs 1.3m) in 2000. In all cases Sweden has set flexible terms, only asking for priority to be given to “technical assistance activities, both in terms of negotiation capacity and in terms of implementing WTO agreements, where least developed countries are prime beneficiaries”.

Expressing his thanks, WTO Director-General Mike Moore said: “Sweden has been a steadfast contributor to WTO technical cooperation funding. This latest contribution is timely, not only because of the continuing need, but because in the 14 November Ministerial Declaration in Doha, WTO member governments included a pledge to improve assistance to developing countries and to ensure secure and predictable funding.”

Since the WTO’s creation in 1995, Sweden has been the fourth largest voluntary contributor to WTO technical assistance activities. It is the third largest so far in 2001. It is also one of the initiators of the “Global” WTO Trust Fund set up in 1999. Voluntary contributions of this kind help poorer countries participate actively in the WTO and take advantage of the new opportunities in international trade offered by the WTO agreements. The funds are administered by the WTO Secretariat.

In 2001, the WTO Secretariat is spending a total of about Swiss francs 41m directly and indirectly on technical cooperation and training, out of a total budget of about Swiss francs 134m plus about Swiss francs 9m from the trust funds created by voluntary contributions.