The FINANCIAL -- The government of Austria has donated EUR 200,000 to help developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) participate effectively in multilateral trade negotiations in 2016 and to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the WTO’s first multilateral trade deal in 20 years.
A contribution of EUR 100,000 to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF) will finance training workshops for government officials in Geneva and elsewhere to help them develop the skills needed to negotiate multilateral accords.
Another donation of EUR 100,000 to the Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) will finance training workshops for government officials from developing countries to help them implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA ). The TFA aims to cut the time and cost involved in moving goods across borders by streamlining customs procedures and will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO members have ratified it. To date, 94 members have done so, according to WTO.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “Austria’s generous contribution will help developing and least-developed countries implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement and enhance their participation in trade negotiations. This very welcome support will help to increase the economic prospects of these countries so that they can benefit from trade and integrate more effectively into the world economy.”
Austria’s Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy, Reinhold Mitterlehner, stated: “Austria deems trade to be an important means of contributing to sustainable development, stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty. Our contributions to the WTO’s DDAGTF and the TFAF indicate Austria’s continued commitment to helping developing countries expand their trade capacities and integrate into regional and global value chains.”
The TFAF — created at the request of developing countries and LDCs — has been operational since November 2014 when the General Council adopted the Trade Facilitation Agreement Protocol, inserting the new Agreement into the WTO rulebook.
Overall, Austria has donated over CHF 4 million to WTO trust funds in 15 years