unctad.org | Expert Meeting on Distribution Services
Expert Meeting on Distribution Services
16 - 18 November 2005

Key Issues

The Meeting will aim to discuss policy options that enhance the contribution of distribution services to growth, trade and development and also identify approaches that developing countries may follow in seeking access to global distribution channels for their goods and services as a means for their effective integration into the global economy. In that context, the Meeting will address the new realities of international trade in distribution services and current negotiations on services at the multilateral and regional levels, assessing their role in contributing to attainment of the national development objectives in this area. In accordance with the São Paulo Consensus, the Meeting will aim to assist developing countries in strengthening their capacities to increase their participation in global services trade, in particular in distribution services, and applying the insights gained to help strengthen domestic services capacity.

The Expert Meeting will provide an opportunity for actors from public and private sectors, including trade negotiators, to explore different facets of distribution services in an open debate at the international level in order to bring about a convergence of views on a set of options necessary to ensure further progress in GATS negotiations on distribution services, discuss what policies have to be pursued in liberalizing market access and facilitate trade in these services. High-level experts from academia and international organizations are expected to contribute to the debate. The aim is to contribute to UNCTAD´s objective of generating "greater understanding of the interface and coherence between international processes and negotiations on the one hand and the development strategies and policies that developing countries need to pursue on the other", as stated in the São Paulo Consensus.



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(TD/B/COM.1/EM.29/2) - 06/09/2005 - 21 Pages - 500 KB
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(TD/B/COM.1/EM.29/INF.1) - 05/12/2005 - 8 Pages - 56 KB
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The Expert Meeting on Distribution Services will be held from 16 to 18 November 2005 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. The Meeting will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 16 November 2005.


Member States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts at an early date and not later than 21 October 2005. Experts, who will participate in the Meeting in their personal capacities, are expected to have proven expertise in the subject and may be selected from governmental and non-governmental organizations, private entities or academia. The Meeting may be of particular interest to government officials and representatives of the private sector involved with distribution of goods and services, including retail and wholesale trade, as well as services trade negotiators. In addition, experts from international and regional organizations dealing with issues related to the topic will be invited as resource persons.

Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the Meeting, as well as non-governmental organizations in the General Category and those in the Special Category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by 21 October 2005.

Financial assistance

Funds will be made available to finance the participation of a limited number of officially nominated experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Governments requiring funding are therefore invited to explicitly request financing in their letters of nomination. The decision as to which experts should receive financing will be based on the principle of equitable geographical representation, needs of beneficiaries, in particular LDCs, and the expertise of the experts concerned, as well as the type and availability of funding in the Trust Fund for Financing the Participation of Experts at the time. Changes in nominated experts will be considered as new nominations.

Nominations with requests for financing should be received no later than 7 October 2005, and should be accompanied by the following information about the nominee:

  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Mailing address;
  • Telephone and fax number;
  • E-mail address; and
  • Name of a contact person in the Permanent Mission in Geneva.

It should be noted in this connection that once the list of experts to be financed has been finalized, all travel arrangements will be made in accordance with United Nations rules and regulations, although use of the least costly fare will be authorized.

These experts are expected to prepare brief papers on issues they consider particularly important. The papers will be made available at the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.

Background documents and contributed papers

The provisional agenda for the Meeting, together with the secretariat´s annotations thereto, is being circulated as document TD/B/COM.1/EM.29/1. In order to facilitate the discussion, the UNCTAD secretariat is preparing an issues note, which will be circulated as TD/B/COM.1/EM.29/2.

In addition, all experts are encouraged to prepare and submit brief papers related to their country´s experience in regulation and liberalization of distribution services, their contribution to development of developing countries and opportunities for suppliers of distribution services from developing countries in accessing regional and global markets. These papers will be made available to the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.


The meeting will take place at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Palais des Nations. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in the six official languages of the United Nations.

Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badge at the UN Security Service, Villa Les Feuillantines, 13 Avenue de la Paix (close to the main entrance to the Palais at the Place des Nations, on the opposite side of the road). The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (non-stop). Because of the security measures in force, participants are strongly advised to arrive before 8.30 a.m. in order to complete procedures and reach the Meeting in good time. Walking from Villa Les Feuillantines to the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais takes about 10 minutes. Participants are requested to carry a passport or similar national identity card with them. Taxis are not allowed to enter the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will therefore be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Further information and contact details

Nominations and related communications concerning representation at the Meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: + 41(0) 22 917 0056; e-mail: correspondence@unctad.org.

Enquiries concerning substantive issues should be addressed to a coordinator in the substantive division, Ms. Mina Mashayekhi or Ms. Jolita Butkeviciene, tel: +41 (0) 22 917 5866 or +41 (0) 22 917 4977, fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0044, e-mail: mina.mashayekhi@unctad.org or jolita.butkeviciene@unctad.org.

(p.p. signed)

Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
22 September 2005


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