Online event marks inauguration of Beijing University into WTO Chairs Programme

Monday, April 11, 2022

Beijing University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) was inaugurated into the WTO Chairs Programme at a virtual event on 8 April attended by Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang. This event marking UIBE’s entry into the programme is the first to be held for the group of 17 academic institutions selected by Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in late 2021 to join the Chairs network.
Welcoming UIBE to the Chairs Programme, DDG Zhang emphasized that the Programme is a key component of the WTO's technical assistance activities. “The Chairs Programme Network affords opportunities for mutual learning given that the WTO and the Chairs look at the same issues from different perspectives,” he said. Noting the Chairs' engagement in joint projects and activities, he said: “The resulting outputs have had an impact not only on the national level, but also at regional and cross-regional levels.” Highlighting the importance of academic research for WTO negotiations, he underlined the need for more applied research and policy advice to governments and other stakeholders. “I encourage UIBE to continue to develop a wide collaborative network with domestic and foreign research institutions within and outside of the network.”
In a policy briefing on issues related to the 12th Ministerial Conference organized by the UIBE Chair as part of the inaugural event , Ambassador Hung Seng Tan (Singapore) underscored the need for global rules to govern e-commerce and the digital economy. Ambassador Matthias Francke (Chile) discussed the origins, objectives and challenges of the joint initiative on investment facilitation for development. Ambassador Santiago Wills (Colombia) presented an overview of the key issues and developments in the WTO's fisheries negotiations. Peter van den Bossche, Academic Advisory Board Member and Director of Studies at the World Trade Institute, discussed the state of play of the WTO dispute settlement system, while the Director of the WTO's Intellectual Property Division, Antony Taubman, presented issues relating to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and public health.
Also speaking at the event were the new WTO Chairholder at UIBE, Professor Xinquan Tu, and UIBE Vice-President, Hong Junjie, who stressed that the university will strongly support the Chair in the implementation of the Programme's activities and the cultivation of the next generation of trade experts.
Yusong Chen, DDG of China's WTO Department at the Ministry of Commerce, and Yihong Li, Minister at China's Permanent Mission to the WTO in Geneva, congratulated UIBE for being selected for the third phase of the Programme. They also emphasized China's commitment to uphold multilateralism and continue playing an active role in WTO negotiations. UIBE will now be able to better promote cooperation between research institutions in China and other countries, jointly work on WTO research and development issues and promote China's contribution to the world economy.
In closing the event, Xiaozhun Yi, former WTO DDG and Chief Advisor of the Network for International Trade and Investment System, stressed the importance of academic cooperation and technical assistance: “We are more committed than ever to maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system. Today's policy brief serves as a very good example for our future events. The Chairs Programme is devoted to offering support in the areas of curriculum development, research, and outreach activities. Its fundamental aim is to enhance knowledge and understanding of the trading system among academics and policymakers in developing countries.”