The Netherlands Trainee Programme

On 24 March 2005, the Government of the Netherlands and the WTO signed an agreement for the Netherlands Trainee Programme (NTP). The original agreement was for five years but has been continuously renewed. The current agreement for the NTP was signed on 18 October 2018 and will expire on 31 December 2022.

See also:
> Press release: The WTO and the Netherlands launch new trainee programme for LDCs

The aim of the NTP is to assist in the economic and social development of least developed countries (LDCs), low income countries and comparable poor small and vulnerable economies in areas related to trade policy and to provide essentially junior public officials with the opportunity to learn about matters dealt with within the WTO, under the direction of staff members of the WTO. Under the terms of the agreement, particular attention is given to African countries. On average, between 15 trainees can be accommodated per year.

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Main Objectives 

The main objective of the Programme is to generate tangible and measurable results including through:

  • building sustainable capacity in beneficiary countries, by providing officials with an opportunity to directly participate in the WTO's work in Geneva;
  • providing exposure to ongoing activities in the Secretariat, which will assist officials in enhancing their understanding of the functioning of the WTO and the Multilateral Trading System (MTS), and providing relevant policy advice to the governments;
  • facilitating the implementation of Member's commitments in the WTO;
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Terms and Conditions 

The trainee will spend a total period of up to ten months with the WTO Secretariat and will be expected to complete specific and well-defined tasks in that period in conformity with the objectives of the Programme. Tasks will need to have specific relevance for the beneficiary country in terms of capacity building and/or in the work programme of the WTO, including any ongoing negotiations, and will be defined prior to the beginning of the traineeship. By way of illustration, these tasks can include:

  • undertaking a "needs assessment" for identifying priorities for technical assistance and training, based on the Guidelines established by the Secretariat to that effect;
  • fulfilling outstanding notification obligations and, for recently acceded Members, assisting in the implementation of commitments;
  • assisting acceding countries in their process of accession;
  • assisting in the preparation of Trade Policy Reviews (TPRs);
  • undertaking other tasks which would contribute to a better and fuller participation of their respective country in the MTS; and,
  • assisting WTO Divisions in specific tasks, with the exception of dispute settlement proceedings.

The trainees shall not be assigned to regular staff posts and shall be considered as supplementary staff within the Organization.

The trainees shall be subject, for the duration of their assignment, to the Staff Regulations and Rules applicable to the WTO Secretariat, including “The Standards of Conduct”, as set out in the letters of appointment issued by the Organization.

The trainees shall be subject to the authority of the Director-General and shall be ultimately responsible to him/her in the exercise of their duties.

How to apply?

Following a letter of invitation sent by the WTO to eligible beneficiaries, through the established channels, applications should be submitted electronically to the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) as specified in the letter of invitation, with:

  • a complete curriculum vitae (CV),
  • a letter of motivation,
  • specific indications of the tasks that the candidates would like to perform,
  • a short biography of 10 lines maximum,
  • a letter of support from the nominating national authority and/or a letter of support from the Permanent Mission is required.

Incomplete files will not be considered. Given the budgetary constraints, and with a view to providing appropriate guidance and supervision to the interns, the total number of NTPs shall not exceed 18 per year.

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Selection and Nomination 

The selection of the candidates will be conducted by the Secretariat, following nominations to be received from eligible beneficiary countries, which are to be sent along with a detailed curriculum vitae to the Director, Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation,  WTO. The qualifications of the officials will be carefully examined in the selection process in light of the tasks to be accomplished. This process may entail interviews with them to further discuss the tasks and objectives and to get a fuller appreciation of the level of knowledge on the WTO in light of the objectives to be achieved.

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Terms of Service  

The trainees will receive a monthly lump sum (CHF 5,000) and the Letter of Appointment will include appropriate information concerning the traineeship and the conditions of work. Trainees shall be appointed for a period of up to ten months. There is no expectation of renewal or extension of the traineeship, or conversion into another form of WTO contract. Trainees would be working full time like other WTO staff members and carry out tasks and duties assigned to them. The trainee shall be subject to supervision by a professional staff member of the Secretariat.

> How to participate

WTO Netherlands Trainee Programme

Promoting trade for sustainable development