WTO accession is a very long and complex negotiation process which requires extensive human resources and institutional capacities: every negotiation sector is highly technical and requires its own sectoral experts. A number of acceding countries, particularly LDCs and small economies, face particular constraints and challenges such as:
- limited understanding of the scope and complexity of obligations associated with joining the WTO
- lack of experience and skills in trade-related negotiations
- limited analytical capacity to support trade and impact analysis
- limited availability of required data and information
- lack of resources to respond to information requests during the accession process
- limited skills in developing mechanisms to implement legislation
- poor coordination between ministries and other stakeholders
The TNCD branch provides an important reinforcement for countries engaged in the WTO accession process. This work also includes training of government officials and other relevant stakeholders on particular trade agreements. In undertaking this task the Branch has developed a series of training modules for trainers and government officials in order to raise awareness of political and technical aspects of multilateral trade agreements and related issues such as agriculture, services, investment, intellectual property rights and regional trade agreements among others.
In order to benefit from further integration and participation in the multilateral trading system, developing countries need to be assisted to deal with the growing complexity of accession issues, which is putting a strain on their resources.
In response to this challenge, and in line with the mandate agreed during UNCTAD IX in 1996 and reconfirmed at UNCTAD X in 2000, UNCTAD XI in 2004, UNCTAD XII in 2008, the UNCTAD secretariat has developed an extensive programme of assistance for developing countries, economies in transition and LDCs prior to, during and after their accession to WTO.
The programme is financed by two Trust Funds funded by the Governments of the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany.