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WTO Regional Trade Policy Course (RTPC) from 9 September to 1 November 2013

The Centre for WTO Studies organized the third WTO Regional Trade Policy Course (RTPC) from 9 September to 1 November 2013 in collaboration with WTO. The 8 weeks training programme was organized at IIFT Campus which was attended by 20 Government Officials from Asia-Pacific countries. The RTPC is a level 2 (intermediate) stage of the progressive learning methodology of the WTO.

2. The objectives of the RTPC are inter-alia, to provide detailed explanation of the important WTO Agreements and the Doha Development Agenda; to provide a regional perspective to the topics covered and to increase the networking capabilities of the participants. The RTPC was attended by participants from 16 developing countries/LDCs viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Thailand and Vietnam. The programme was inaugurated on 9 September 2013 by Shri S. R. Rao Commerce Secretary, Government of India in the presence of Dr. Surajit Mitra, Director IIFT, Shri Rajeev Kher, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Mr Marc Bacchetta, Counsellor in the Economics Research Division of the WTO.

3. WTO is the only multilateral organization that deals with subjects on international trade. It has a complex menu of trade related subjects such as binding of customs tariff on Agricultural and non- Agricultural products; disciplines on non-tariff measures like Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Anti-Dumping, Subsidies, Safeguards etc. There are separate trade disciplines for Trade in Services under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and on Intellectual Property Rights, Copyrights, Patents, Geographical Indication etc. under TRIPS (Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights) and a binding Dispute Settlement mechanism under WTO. The schedule of the two months training covered all the above subjects. This training is conducted by classroom sessions, practical exercises, trade negotiations simulation and other pedagogical tools. Ambassador S. Narayanan, India’s former Permanent Representative to the WTO was the Patron of this year’s RTPC and he shared his rich experience with the participants. During the last week an extensive revision workshop was conducted which was followed by a final exam.

4. A number of cultural activities were organized for the participants during their stay at New Delhi which included Delhi sightseeing; visit to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort; Palm reading & Yoga sessions; Sound & light show at Purana Qilla (Old Fort); Classical Indian Kathak Dance Performance at ICCR; Delhi Heritage Walk.

5. The programme concluded on 1 November 2013 with an evaluation of the programme by the participants. Shri Rajeev Kher, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce; Mr Shishir Priyadarshi, Director Development Division WTO; Mr Aime Murigande and Mr Samer Seif El- Yazal from ITTC-WTO besides Shri Abhijit Das, Head and Professor Centre for WTO studies and Professor Mukesh Bhatnagar were present during the evaluation and closing ceremony.
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