Online event marks inauguration of National Taiwan University into WTO Chairs Programme

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A high-level event was held on 17 May 2022 to launch the activities of the new Chair at National Taiwan University (NTU) in Chinese Taipei under the WTO Chairs Programme (WCP). Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang attended the event alongside representatives from public authorities of Chinese Taipei, the government of France, and members of the WCP network. NTU is one of 17 academic institutions selected by Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in late 2021 to join the Chairs network.
In his opening remarks, DDG Zhang congratulated NTU on its "outstanding academic capacity and achievements in the area of [the] WTO." He supported NTU's focus on improving economic competitiveness, entrepreneurship and enabling better market access based on the principles of reciprocity and fairness and its research focus on climate change and sustainability.
Speaking on behalf of France, a lead donor to the WCP, Ms Cassandra Nonque from the Ministry of the Economy and Finance congratulated Prof. Lin Tsai-yu for having been selected as a WTO Chair Holder. Referring to the forthcoming 12th Ministerial Conference, she said: "Discussions are still ongoing for priority topics of MC12: fisheries negotiations, WTO reform, the WTO's response to the pandemic, and agriculture. Fueling these discussions with new ideas which are both pragmatic and innovative to enable members to find adequate compromises is more important than ever to deliver on these issues."
Giorgio Sacerdoti from the WCP Academic Advisory Board, stressed the value of the WTO Chairs Programme for beneficiary countries, noting: "We take pride that Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is very much engaged in developing, sustaining, and supporting the programme, alongside, of course, our generous donor countries." He also highlighted the two main themes of the Chair's work programme at NTU: trade and public health, and new generation trade agreements.
Professor Tsung-fu Chen, Dean of the NTU College of Law, said: "The WTO Chair is not only the highest recognition of our long-term endeavour in research and education ... but also a great responsibility for us to continue designing and implementing tailor-made activities through WTO research and to support the public and the private sector on WTO-related matters."
Mr John Chen-chung Deng from the trade negotiations office of Chinese Taipei underlined the value of trade research to policy makers. He said: "The Asian Center for WTO and International Health Law (ACWH) at NTU is our leading academic centre for WTO research and plays a key role in our decision-making process. I believe that ACWH will serve as one of the most dynamic platforms for intellectual discussions on WTO related issues in this international community."
Cynthia Kiang from the Bureau of Foreign Trade noted that 2022 also marks the 20th year of Chinese Taipei's accession to the WTO. She said Chinese Taipei remains committed to working together with other WTO members to tackle the supply chain crunches brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the geopolitical tension in Europe, and to ensuring resilient international trade in a safe environment.
Permanent Representative Chang-fa Lo from the Permanent Mission of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu said that this is the beginning of an important responsibility for NTU to conduct practical research, to enhance policymaking, and to contribute to work in academic circles. He pledged that the "mission will play a supportive role to bridge the policy research and policymaking between ACWH and government agencies".
In a keynote address relating to the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference, Victor Luiz Do Prado, Senior Fellow at the Brazilian Centre for International Relations, said that, like the World Bank or the IMF, the WTO is contributing to solving problems by providing a permanent forum for trade negotiations. Regardless of the number of new agreements concluded at any given ministerial conference, members' engagement in cooperative efforts toward enhancing world trade produces results which go beyond written agreements, he said. This engagement can have a lasting and positive impact on the world order even amidst the difficult challenges faced by the world today, he added.
Find out more about the WTO Chairs Programme here.