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WTO, IDB sign memorandum for cooperation on trade-related assistance programs for Latin America and Caribbean countries

World Trade Organization Director-General Mike Moore and Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias today signed a memorandum of understanding under which their institutions will seek to deepen cooperation to provide technical assistance on trade negotiations and capacity-building to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The document was signed at the IDB’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., following a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean trade and finance officials on the challenges their region faces in multilateral negotiations and commitments under WTO agreements and in negotiating and implementing the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).

In order to help Latin American and Caribbean countries meet their multilateral trade challenges, the WTO and the IDB will step up their joint efforts to assist member countries strengthen their capacity to participate fully in the multilateral trading system.

The importance of capacity-building was highlighted in the recent Doha Ministerial Declaration, in which WTO member nations sought to place the priorities and interests of developing countries at the heart of the WTO’s work program.

The WTO has pointed out that this agreement with the IDB could serve as a model for regional development banks to support their borrowing member countries through technical assistance and capacity-building programs that will allow them to play a larger role in the Doha Development Agenda.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the WTO and the IDB will work to establish joint programs to support, among other activities, regional and subregional workshops and meetings, training courses and tool kits for trade negotiators, distance learning courses and analysis of trade policy and multilateral negotiations issues.

The WTO and the IDB will also consider cooperating on technical assistance programs to strengthen Latin American and Caribbean countries’ capacity in trade-related areas pertaining to the environment, competition, government procurement, investments and trade facilitation.

In recent years the IDB has collaborated with the WTO through the Bank’s Buenos Aires-based Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL), which has financed WTO training courses for trade negotiators from IDB borrowing member countries.

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