Geneva-based training courses fact sheet

WHAT are the Geneva-based WTO Training Courses?

  • A series of training courses held annually at the WTO Headquarters in the organization's three official languages (English, French, and Spanish). The courses are tailor-made programmes designed to address issues of particular concern to participating countries, focussing largely on development-related themes. They consist of interactive training with lectures, presentations, round-tables, meetings with experts, simulation exercises, attendance to official WTO meetings, etc. They consist of Trade Policy Courses, Introduction Courses, and thematic courses such as Trade Negotiations, Dispute Settlement, TRIPS and SPS. Also included in the programme are Introduction Days.

WHAT is the purpose of these courses?

  • Most of the courses respond to the demand by WTO Members to provide Government officials with training on the WTO, what it does, how it works, and what its agreements contain. The main objective for the beneficiary countries is to understand more about the WTO and its rules in order to better use and more actively participate in the Multilateral Trading System. Government officials learn through these courses how best to use the system to efficiently advance their national interests.

  • Specific objectives range from transfer of knowledge and skills, to developing team-oriented approaches to international trade negotiations. The courses also strengthen participants' autonomy, including in dealing with the vast number of WTO-related documents and information while enabling government trade officials to establish a network of professional contacts.

WHO benefits from the Geneva-based courses?

  • All beneficiaries of the Geneva-based courses are government officials of developing countries, economies in transition, and countries in accession (with the exception of the Thematic Course on Dispute Settlement which is open to all Members).

  • All participants are government officials nominated by their governments.

WHAT are the results?

  • Participants return to their official duties after the courses. Some are posted in the Permanent Representations of their countries in Geneva, others are assigned new duties more in line with their acquired knowledge and enhanced understanding of WTO matters. A number of alumni have become Negotiators for their countries, Ambassadors, even Ministers in a few cases. Some have also chosen eventually to leave the public service to join the academic community or to work in the private sector, which constitutes a key actor in international trade.