unctad.org | Strengthening Iraqi trade policy and WTO negotiations
Strengthening Iraqi trade policy and WTO negotiations
18 February 2013
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UNCTAD and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are working as a team to help Iraq set astute trade policy and carry out effective trade negotiations.


The two organizations are collaborating as part of a wider project, financially supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), entitled "Strengthening national quality and trade infrastructure in Iraq".

The UNIDO-UNCTAD collaboration was conceived under the UN Trade and Productive Capacity Cluster framework. The trade component of the project will last through December 2015. The main beneficiary and partner in the project will be Iraq's Ministry of Trade.

A major aim of the UNCTAD-UNIDO project is to assist Iraq in its negotiations for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

A second goal is to help the Government of Iraq review and modernize its trade policy framework.

Under the project, the two organizations will carry out a series of training events, study tours, and capacity-building assistance programmes.

UNCTAD will focus on capacity-building, including through intensive training courses and workshops in the area of WTO accession, trade policy, and trade negotiations, designed for Iraqi senior officials and members of the WTO accession inter-ministerial task force set up by the Government of Iraq. An important part of the project is to support the Iraqi private sector in enhancing its institutional and human capacities so that it can play an active role in WTO accession and can help the Government formulate effective trade policy.

Iraq applied to join the WTO in September 2004. A Working Party to examine the application of Iraq was established at the WTO General Council meeting of December of the same year. After the submission by Iraq of its Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) to the WTO in September 2005, the Working Party met in 2007 and 2008.

It is expected that the UNCTAD/UNIDO project will have several key outcomes:

  • Improved overall understanding by Government trade officials and negotiators of the complex rules and disciplines associated with WTO membership, and improved understanding by representatives of business, the private sector, and other relevant stakeholders from civil society.

  • Sufficient preparation among Government officials involved in the accession process to enable them to deal with WTO accession and trade-related policy issues and challenges.

  • Completion of trade policy studies, reviews, and impact assessments; and upgrading of the Government's capacity to formulate and implement trade and trade-related policies.

  • Appropriate and timely replies from the Government of Iraq to questions submitted by WTO members.

  • Completion of market-access offers on goods and services and an improved capacity of government officials to negotiate using up-to-date negotiating techniques.

  • Reformulated and strengthened trade policies appropriate for a more competitive global trading environment.


 

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