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Trade negotiators hone their skills

When it comes to trade agreements, a country's success at the negotiating table often hinges on the skills of a handful of low-profile negotiators. In addition to having astute diplomatic instincts, these officials must be experts in an ever-expanding number of areas, from the abstractions of intellectual property law to the scientific intricacies of agricultural pest control.

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, like their counterparts around the world, have always struggled to recruit and train public officials with these specialized skills. But with the explosive growth in regional, hemispheric and global trade agreements during the last decade, the need for qualified negotiators has become acute. Many countries are eager to train their trade negotiators in the latest technical areas, but resources are scarce.

Now, the IDB's Integration and Regional Programs Department (INT) is launching a series of Technical Training Seminars for negotiators through the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL).

The seminars, which are being offered three times annually at various locations throughout the Americas over the next two years, cover a number of specialized subjects.

This year, INTAL plans seminars on subsidies, rules of origin, market access and tariff schedules, customs valuation, the textiles and apparel trade, trade in services and competition policy.

The first of the seminars, held in Bogotá last May in coordination with the Colombian Foreign Trade Institute, dealt with subsidies and subsidy-related notification requirements. The World Trade Organization's Technical Cooperation and Training Division and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration are also cooperating with INTAL on the seminars.


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