WTO Chairs Programme activities launched in Peru
Thursday, June 9, 2022
A high-level launch event was held on 9 June by Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú for the start of its activities under the WTO Chairs Programme. The Peruvian academic team, led by professor Victor Saco and professor Yovana Reyes Tagle will focus its work on digital trade facilitation and regional integration in Latin America over the course of this year.
Speaking at the event, WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang expressed his confidence that the Chairs network would be enhanced with the participation of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). "I have no doubt that the realization and successful implementation of this project will fulfil the main aim of the Chairs Programme, which is to build capacity and directly support the negotiations which take place on a multilateral level through customized research which is developed in coordination with government officials, private stakeholders, and a global academic community of experts in the field of international trade," said DDG Zhang.
By joining the WTO Chairs Programme (WCP), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú becomes part of a network of 36 institutions around the world, nine of which are in the Americas. Half of them were added to the programme during previous cycles while the other half became a part of the WCP when its third four-year cycle was launched in 2021.
César Landa Arroyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, spoke about the upcoming WTO 12th Ministerial Conference to be held in Geneva on 12-15 June, and the importance of the multilateral trading system in raising the living standards of citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, as well as in ensuring the optimal utilization of global resources. He expressed his confidence that PUCP's activities would facilitate research and policymaking on issues which are of key interest to Peru during upcoming negotiations as well as contribute to greater academic development.
Pedro Bravo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Peru to the WTO, emphasized that this type of technical cooperation provided by the WTO is of the utmost importance. "We firmly believe that going this extra mile through activities encompassing the preparation of future trade experts, researchers and policymakers is a valuable approach in the right direction to ensure the continuous improvement of work and discussions in the WTO," he said.
The event was also attended by Cassandre Nonque, Deputy Head of the International Trade and Investment Rules Unit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of France - the WCP's largest donor country. France's support for the programme stems from their recognition of the contribution of the WCP toward generating convergence toward common interests within the multilateral trading system. She brought to attention the importance of the network in facilitating outside-the-box discussions with stakeholders and filtering the results of these discussions into concrete outcomes during decision making at the WTO.
Ambassador Jung Sung Park, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, noted Peru's extensive integration into the multilateral trading system, in particular its commitment to modernizing the WTO rulebook, as is manifested in its participation in all joint statement initiatives (JSIs), including its most recent decision to join the JSI on investment facilitation for development. He also expressed Korea's desire to scale up their support for the WCP. "We believe in the vision and potential impact of the Programme. By training a country’s trainers, the Chairs Programme will help ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of home-grown knowledge and expertise," he said.
A roundtable was held as part of the event. Marcelo Olarreaga, Professor of Economics at the University of Geneva, and Henry Gao, from the Singapore Management University - both Members of the WCP Academic Advisory Board - discussed the challenges of e-commerce in the multilateral trading system alongside Antonia Carzaniga, Counsellor at the WTO Trade in Services and Investment Division.
Co-operation is well underway between members of the Latin American sphere of the WCP, who came together with the academic Chair in China at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing to discuss the economic relations between the two regions.
In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce, the team at PUCP envisions close collaboration with several stakeholders throughout the course of their activities such as with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Customs, the National Society of Industries, the Chamber of Commerce Peru-United States, and other Peruvian universities.
Representing the business community at the launch event, Silvia Hooker, Manager of International Affairs of the National Society of Industries of Peru, also spoke at the event, emphasizing the significance of the Chairs Programme for the private sector within the country.