Workshop on trade policy and trade in services for trade officials from the State of Palestine

Workshop on trade policy and trade in services for trade officials from the State of Palestine
30 mai - 01 juin 2022
, Egypt

The State of Palestine faces a daunting challenge in building trade support institutions and integrating itself gainfully in emerging sub-regional and regional integration initiatives to buttress post-COVID-19 recovery and sustainable development processes.

In this context, the Ministry of National Economy (MoNE) has requested UNCTAD support for trade policy formulation and trade negotiations so as to enable the Palestinian policy makers to deal with the many impediments that are limiting national economic growth and its regional integration, in particular in the framework of The Pan Arabic Free Trade Area (PAFTA). Previously, the assistance of UNCTAD to the Palestinian Authority has been delivered in the form of training workshops and advisory services to enhance the capacity of policy makers and negotiators, in particular in areas related to services economy, gender mainstreaming, and women's participation in trade policy-making processes and implementation.

In continuation of UNCTAD support, fourteen Palestinian policy makers, economic experts, and trade negotiators, representing the Ministries of National Economy (MoNE); Health, Education, Higher Education, Social Affairs, and the Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics (PCBS) are due to meet in Cairo, Egypt, from 30 May to 1 June, to participate in a capacity building workshop organized at the initiative of UNCTAD, in collaboration with the Arab Economic Integration Department (AEID) of the League of Arab States (LAS).

The work programme of this face-to-face three-day event is tailored to enhance Palestinian officials’ technical knowledge and skills in the areas of trade policy formulation and trade negotiations, with a particular emphasis on services liberalization preparedness, impact assessment, and regulatory mapping.

Challenges and impediments, caused by longstanding Israeli occupation and policies, to the Palestinian economic development and trade, particularly in the services sector, will also be addressed during the workshop. 

UNCTAD is delivering this workshop under the UN Development Account Project (13th Tranche) titled Trade Policies and Frameworks to Foster Regional Integration and the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Selected Conflict and Post-conflict Arab Countries. The State of Palestine and the Republic of Iraq are the main beneficiaries of the said Project. In this context, similar trade policy-related technical assistance and capacity-building activities are being provided to Iraq in support of its accession negotiations to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

UNCTAD experts will conduct the discussions in Cairo and coach the Palestinian participants through a series of interactive sessions and simulation exercises to strengthen their understanding of the services negotiations’ modalities, in line with international practices, and equip them with the necessary expertise to enable them to achieve the SDGs, develop national services policies and undertake regulatory services review and reform.

Ultimately, the workshop is meant to allow Palestinian experts and policy makers to engage effectively in bilateral and regional negotiations on trade in services, and secure positive outcomes from trade arrangements to which the State of Palestine is a party. Participants will review and discuss the cost-benefit of the State of Palestine's membership in the Arab Agreement on Services, which concluded in 2017, under the auspices of the League of Arab States.

Policy recommendations, on the way forward to promote trade policy tools and modernize the Palestinian Services-related regulatory environment, taking into account ongoing Arab regional integration efforts, will be adopted at the conclusion of the workshop.

UNCTAD and Arab Economic Integration Department (AEID) of the League of Arab States (LAS)

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Khairedine Ramoul

Project Officer