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17 March 1999

Sweden hands over SwF 1 million contribution to WTO technical cooperation activities

Sweden's Deputy Minister for Trade, Ms. Yvonne Gustaffson, on 16 March, handed over to Director-General Renato Ruggiero her country's contribution of Swiss Francs 1 million to the WTO's technical cooperation activities.

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At a brief ceremony held at the Swedish Residence in Geneva, Ms. Gustaffson underlined the importance Sweden attaches to assisting developing countries, particularly the least-developed among them, in integrating themselves fully into the multilateral trading system. She also stressed the importance that Sweden attached to the establishment of a Global Trust Fund for WTO technical cooperation and expressed the hope that Sweden's contribution would pave the way for its constitution.

In thanking the Government of Sweden, Mr. Ruggiero noted that 80 per cent of WTO's technical cooperation activities are funded by extra-budgetary contributions from a few developed countries. He emphasized that strengthening the technical cooperation allocations in the WTO regular budget would enable the organization to plan ahead and provide more efficient assistance to developing countries.

The Swedish WTO Trust Fund was established last December with the signing of an agreement between Ambassador Johan Molander, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the WTO, and Mr. Ruggiero.