9 December 2003

Switzerland donates a total of 1.5 million Swiss francs to WTO technical assistance

On 4 December 2003 the Swiss Government contributed 750,000 Swiss francs to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund. This donation is in addition to an initial contribution of the same amount a year ago. Switzerland is thereby fulfilling the commitments that it made at the Pledging Conference for the Doha Fund in March 2002.

“I am extremely grateful to Switzerland for its generous contribution”, stated WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. “It is more than ever essential to provide extensive technical assistance to the developing countries so as to enable them to participate effectively in the negotiations of the Doha Round. Thanks to such contributions we shall be able to try to meet an ever growing demand”.

“The WTO's technical assistance activities play an important role in facilitating the understanding and implementation of the Agreements which make up the multilateral trading system”, the Swiss authorities declared. “Switzerland recognizes the efforts made by the WTO Secretariat to constantly increase the quality of its technical assistance activities and develop partnerships, not only with other international agencies concerned with trade, but also with academic circles. Switzerland attaches particular importance to the establishment of partnerships intended to develop training capacities at the local and regional levels. Certain practices, such as the trade policy reviews and the practical training sessions on trade, offer useful opportunities for identifying more effectively the needs of the developing countries and providing technical assistance which is both flexible and properly structured”.

The Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund was established following the WTO Ministerial Conference which was held in Doha in November 2001 and which launched a new round of negotiations. The developing countries indicated that they required greater technical capacities in order to be able to negotiate on an equal footing with the other countries. They also requested more assistance so as to be able to meet their WTO obligations.