Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Institute (MI) conducted a one-week Regional Training Cum Workshop on “Trade Negotiation and Trade Policy Development” from 5th – 9th August 2013 at its Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand. This regional training program is part of the three-year project on “Capacity Building for the Integration of CLMV Economies into ASEAN Economic Community” from 2012-2014, funded by New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP).
Twenty-one (21) participants from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and China attended this training program comprising of senior and mid level government officials namely from Ministry of Industry and Commerce / Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Economy and Finance and Research Institutes.
The program focused on the current state-of-play in international trade and allowed the participants to develop a deeper understanding of ASEAN, the global trade system, the trade policies of individual CLMV countries, the facilitation of the AEC integration, tariff and non tariff measures and other developmental issues. Upon completion, each participant enable to:
- Demonstrate a better understanding of the AEC and global trade system, existing trade policies and emerging issues in the CLMV countries as well as the significance of accession as WTO member;
- Identify all possible areas of development and co-operation in trade negotiations with ASEAN members and other dialogue trade partners;
- Understand the process of trade policy development;
- Understand effective process, strategies and techniques in trade negotiation
Mr. Stephen Olson from Economy Strategy Institute, Washington, D.C., acted as resource person to deliver specific topics on Evaluation of Global Trade System, WTO, AEC, Trade Policies in the GMS, and Trade Negotiation. Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Deputy Executive Director, International Institute for Trade and Development, Bangkok, Thailand delivered on topic trade policy development. Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, an in-house resource person, shared a session on status of SME in GMS countries.
The training program was delivered through four inter-related modules:
Module 1: Setting the Stage – A Brief Overview of the Global Trade System
Module 2: Understanding the Status of Trade Policies in the GMS, and Accessing the Benefits
Module 3: Trade Policy Development
Module 4: The Art of Trade Negotiation
As part of the training requirements, the participants developed action plans to localize training packages to conduct National Workshop on Enhancing the Utilization of Trade Negotiation and Trade Policy Development in CLMV countries and China – to transfer the knowledge gained to trade negotiators, policy makers and practitioners of government agencies at the provincial and nation level in their respective countries. The national workshops will be organized within four months period from August – November 2013, before again gathering in mid of December 2013 for the follow-up ‘Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop’ in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The results from overall training program evaluation methods showed satisfaction rating by the participants. However, recommendations for improvement included guidance the action plan at the beginning of the program and provide more time to develop the action plan, more assignment such as session’s exercise and quiz to make better understanding of the concepts of Trade Negotiation and Trade Policy Development.