The WTO and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

The WTO and UNCTAD are parties in a strategic partnership for the purpose of implementing the DDA, cooperating to ensure that trade serves development goals, and for assisting the beneficial integration of the developing and least developed countries (LDCs) into the global economy and the multilateral trading system.  In order to deepen and give practical effect to this strategic partnership WTO and UNCTAD on 16 April 2003 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), this understanding provides a legal framework that identifies more clearly the partner's fields of cooperation and facilitates their joint activities.

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Joint Activities 

The Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance (IF) and the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITAP) are examples of partnership initiatives where WTO and UNCTAD are core partner agencies working together with a  view to increasing the participation of LDCs in the multilateral trading system (MTS).  UNCTAD is also an observer to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) Working Group and Policy Committee as of March 2007. It is also serving as executing agency for selected STDF projects.


The Integrated Framework (IF)

The IF is a process that was established to support LDC governments in trade capacity building and integrating trade issues into overall national development strategies.  UNCTAD is one of the six core agencies of the IF.  Along with the core agencies, UNCTAD joins other development partners to respond to the trade development needs of LDCs.  UNCTAD is an active member of the management structure of the IF, and has been participating in all stages of the IF process.  UNCTAD provides assistance at the policy level using its research and policy analysis capacity.

> More on the IF


The Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITAP)

The JITAP is a partnership in technical assistance delivery of the three Geneva-based trade agencies — ITC, UNCTAD, and WTO — as implementing agencies; the beneficiary countries selected from among deserving African countries; and the donors.  Under the JITAP, UNCTAD is responsible for module 1 — institutional support.  In this role, UNCTAD assists in the establishment of multi-sector Inter-Institutional WTO committees in each country to improve trade policy formulation coordination at the country level.

> More on JITAP


Aid for Trade

The IF and JITAP are specific examples of Aid for Trade - a much wider initiative aimed at helping developing countries, and the least-developed in particular, to build the supply side capacity and trade-related infrastructure they need to benefit more from trade opening and the WTO. Here too the WTO and UNCTAD are strategic partners. UNCTAD is one of the key international organizations represented on the Director-General's Advisory Group on Aid for Trade, where it is making an important contribution to the WTO's efforts to better mobilize, monitor and evaluate Aid for Trade.

> More on aid for trade


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Other Activities 

WTO Committees, such as the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) and the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries, provide a forum for information exchange on the developmental and technical assistance activities undertaken by other multilateral organizations, including UNCTAD. 

In the CTD, for instance, UNCTAD has frequently contributed to the work of the WTO by making presentations on its work and research related to commodities trade.  UNCTAD also reports occasionally to the LDCs on their activities undertaken in favour of LDCs, in particular activities that support the diversification of LDCs' production and export base.

UNCTAD is an observer in the Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology and has contributed a number of valuable studies, including national case studies. The Members of the Working Group will continue to work closely with UNCTAD in their work to study and explore further the various crucial factors and actors influencing flow of technology among countries.


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Participation of WTO in UNCTAD's activities 

The WTO follows and participates, as an observer, in the meetings of the UN Commission on Science, Technology and Development and UNCTAD's Commission on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues, and other related Expert Group meetings.

The WTO is also represented at UNCTAD's Trade and Development Board, as well as at the Commission on Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities. 

The WTO also attends the annual Joint Advisory Group on the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO.