Legal and Regulatory Framework > United Nations Economic and Social Commission For Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

The aim of the ESCAP services in this category is to increase national capacity to effectively negotiate, conclude and implement multilateral and other trade agreements supporting the internationally-agreed development goals.

WTO/UNESCAP technical assistance programme

The programme’s objective is to increase government officials’ understanding of the current state of play of negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda and the implications for trade policymaking at the national level, so as to assist ESCAP members and associate members to have a better national planning process and implementation of WTO commitments, and thus lead to a strengthened multilateral trading system and fulfill the countries’ development potential.

Among 62 members and associate members of ESCAP, 9 members and 7 associate members have no WTO status, while 8 have observer status and are at various stages of the WTO accession process. There are 36 members of WTO and 2 with pending ratification of the WTO membership status. The Asia-Pacific region still accounts for the high proportion of countries that are not yet members of WTO (almost 40%), and thus accession is an issue of special concern to ESCAP.

The beneficiaries of the programme are mainly government officials in the Asia-Pacific region (macro level), and occasionally researchers and policy-analysts.

To facilitate networking, information-sharing and dialogue among governments, ESCAP organizes regional seminars with trainers coming from WTO, ESCAP and relevant partner institutions. Access to WTO and ESCAP databases is provided.

Since its initiation in 1999, this service has progressed in line with the evolving nature of the WTO negotiations. Recent activities cover the fields of TRIPS, Trade in Services, agriculture, NAMA, trade facilitation and regional trade agreements. Over 12 years, more than 60 courses were delivered involving more than 2,000 trade policymakers from developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region benefiting from this programme.

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