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Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference

SAWTEE participated in the Ninth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC9) and organised two different sessions in the “Trade and Development Symposium” that took place on December 3-5 on the sidelines of the MC9.


On 4 December 2013, SAWTEE, in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Commonwealth Secretariat, United Kingdom, organised a dialogue “The Future of Aid for Trade at the WTO”. SAWTEE’s Non-resident Research Fellow Dr Yurendra Basnett presented the current status of Aid for Trade (AfT) initiative at the global level and set the stage for further discussion. The speakers discussed the future of AfT at the WTO in a rapidly changing global trade and financial landscape. The discussion mainly focused on reinvigorating theAfT initiative so that it responds to the changes in a way that strengthens the WTO in years to come. Participants stressed the high need for continued support to the least-developed countries (LDCs) through initiatives like the AfT. The floor also stressed the need for making AfT an important tool for developing value chains in the low-income countries.


Subsequently, on 5 December 2013, SAWTEE organised a session “Integrating Trade Issues in Post-2015 International Development Framework: Ongoing Debates and Potential Opportunities” in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh; the Commonwealth Secretariat, United Kingdom; and the Office of the United Nations High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (UN-OHRLLS). The session focused on the role trade had played in poverty alleviation and structural adjustments in LDCs during the implementation of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Speakers discussed possible ways how trade related concerns will be addressed in the post 2015 development agenda. Participants stressed on the structural challenges and emerging development issues facing the LDCs that has to be addressed by the post 2015 agenda. Dr Posh Raj Pandey, Executive Chairman, SAWTEE, addressing the session put forth his views that the LDCs should reap maximum benefits from international trade while carefully checking the income inequality that may be reinforced through trade.


Dr Pandey was also invited as one of  the speakers during the session “Trade Facilitation in South Asia” organised by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), India. The session focused on impediments to intra-South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) trade and assessed the existing measures undertaken for trade facilitation by SAARC members. Dr Pandey put forth the experience of Nepal in trade facilitation, especially the trade facilitation experience—problems and prospects—of the landlocked LDC like Nepal. He stressed on the need for increased regional cooperation in South Asia to mutually benefit from the efficient trade facilitation regime.