University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) Hosts Successful WTO Workshop on Enhancing Global Trade for MSMEs
Kingston, Jamaica - October 18, 2023 - In a series of online sessions from October 9-13, government officials, academics, business professionals, and students came together to explore the intricate web of global trade across diverse industries. This insightful World Trade Organization (WTO) workshop was organised by the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) in partnership with the International Trade Institute of West Africa (ITIWA) and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL). The central theme of the workshop was "Boosting the Global Trading Capacity of MSMEs."
The WTO is the United Nations organisation that deals with numerous rules and regulations governing international trade for the primary purpose of opening trade for the benefit of all nations. According to its website (www.wto.org) the WTO acts as a forum for negotiating trade agreements, settling trade disputes between its members and supporting the needs of developing countries. The ACWL is an independent organisation which provides advice to its developing country members and least-developed countries on issues relating to WTO law. Whilst Jamaica is a member of the WTO, it is not a member of the ACWL. The ITIWA is an international trade institute established to train government officials, business professionals, legal practitioners amongst others in WTO Law and related disciplines such as international negotiations skills.
The workshop held online facilitated by the UCC addressed:-
International trade in agriculture, services and intellectual property
Customs regulations and procedures
Export and import processes
Dispute resolution and remedies
The two main presenters were:-
Mrs. Gertrude Nimako-Boateng, Executive Director, ITIWA who is also a consultant in WTO Law for the Economic Community of West African States and has significant experience on the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel.
Mr. Niall Meagher, Executive Director, ACWL an international lawyer with extensive experience in all aspects of domestic anti-dumping and dispute resolution.
Participants included personnel from the government including representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica Customs, Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining. The Anti-dumping and Subsidies Commission (ADSC) was well represented by a team including their Senior Legal Counsel. The ADSC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Jamaica’s Business Ministry, which administers the International Trade Remedies regime to defend manufacturers/producers of goods in Jamaica from the adverse trade practices of trade dumping, subsidisation and sharply increased imports. Hoping that the UCC would amplify on this content in its upcoming programmes, Mrs. Tara Marie Rose, Senior Legal Counsel, ADSC said that “The Commission’s newest staff members were especially helped to grasp aspects of WTO knowledge needed for the Commission’s work and the more experienced staff, noted the high calibre of the content and presenters”.
The private sector was represented mainly through the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Several UCC students took advantage of discounted rates and indicated that the workshop has enhanced their knowledge of international trade agreements which will benefit them in their professional careers in business administration and law. Senior. Programme Coordinator - Law, UCC, Mrs. Maxine Watts, EMBA commented on how timely, revelatory and impactful the WTO Workshop was. Mrs. Watts said, “The conference revealed Jamaica’s areas of weaknesses and provided insights as to how we as a developing country can progress in the right direction. It is hoped that attendees will be inspired to utilise within their organisations the knowledge gained from the various sessions at the WTO Workshop and that Jamaica, as a result, will see exponential growth and development within our nation”.