Trade policy courses

The most thorough training on the WTO is provided through the Trade policy courses, which last eight weeks. These are held in Geneva and elsewhere. The purpose of the trade policy courses is to ensure that participants improve their understanding of all WTO-related issues, develop practical skills and extend their network of contacts. They also serve as a general introduction for those who may become specialists at a later stage.


Advanced trade policy courses (ATPCs)

ATPCs are undertaken at the WTO's headquarters in Geneva. They comprise a series of interactive modules - with lectures, exercises and simulations covering all the areas of work of the WTO. They also include visits to other international organizations active in trade-related matters as well as attendance at selected meetings of WTO bodies.

Regular briefings on WTO work-in-progress and attendance at WTO meetings are an integral part of the ATPCs. Contacts with WTO experts, with experts from WTO member missions, and with other international organizations are also a common feature. Moreover, participants are encouraged to establish contacts with other experts in relevant divisions of the WTO Secretariat, to pursue discussions of interest with experts in specific fields, to prepare for national and regional training events with the regional coordinators in ITTC and to build working relations with WTO officials.

At the end of the ATPCs, the participants are expected to have:

  • developed a good understanding of all aspects of the WTO, including the agreements
  • improved analytical and negotiating skills
  • learned to use effectively the relevant information on trade-related issues
  • strengthened their capacity to work in teams and in an international environment
  • established and/or strengthened a network of contacts with each other and the trainers/experts.

The ATPCs are organized by the ITTC, who calls on experts from WTO divisions and specialist support from outside consultants. Guest speakers from other organizations are regularly invited, in particular from the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Bank. Presentations of the activities of the Advisory Centre for WTO Law (ACWL) and the Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC) are also regular features of the programme.

Details of forthcoming courses can be found here.


Intermediate/regional trade policy courses (RTPCs)

Intermediate/regional TPCs are aimed at generalists at level 2 of the WTO's Progressive Learning Strategy. They are delivered in partnership with an institution of higher learning in different regions of the world. Government officials from a specific region participate in the training, and the courses adapt to regional needs in terms of number of participants from each country.

The courses are co-delivered by officials from the WTO Secretariat and by academics and trade policy specialists from the region. There is a natural complementarity between WTO expertise and regional expertise which makes the training comprehensive and adapted to local needs. These courses form a key component in building partnerships, the main objective being to enhance local ownership and to build capacity at the regional level.

While the key objectives of Intermediate TPCs are to prepare government officials for Geneva-based advanced courses, they are also expected to contribute to:

  • building institutional partnerships at the regional level for capacity-building activities
  • giving the course a regional focus and relevance
  • fostering networks among institutions of higher learning and their academics.

The institutional partnerships can only be forged with a single institution within a region at any one time but the co-lecturers are drawn from institutions of higher learning and other organizations throughout the region. In this way, linkages are established and/or reinforced with the academic community as part of an integrated approach to sustainable capacity-building.

Details of forthcoming courses can be found here.