Workshop on Import Licensing concludes at the WTO
Thirty participants from around the world participated in the second Geneva-based Workshop on Import Licensing on 17-20 April. The workshop organized by the Market Access Division in coordination with the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation was held for developing members, least-developed countries and governments in accession to the WTO to deepen the understanding of the Agreement on Import Licensing and improve their technical capacity to comply with obligations to notify such measures to the WTO.
During the workshop, participants shared national experiences regarding domestic coordination in preparation of import licensing notifications and learned good practices from each other. Through lectures and hands-on exercises, they familiarized themselves with the notification procedures and templates.
Technical capacity constraints, lack of coordination among different government agencies and loss of institutional memory due to frequent changes of staff stood out as the top three challenges faced by governments in fulfilling their import licensing notification obligations. In addition, many participants highlighted the complexity of existing notification requirements under the Agreement and looked forward to receiving more topic-specific national training activities.
In their evaluation of the workshop, participants praised its usefulness with some saying it was relevant to their work as it will help them prepare notifications in a more accurate manner and that it broadened their understanding of the issue.
Members also spoke highly about the workshop. Hong Kong, China, at the Import Licensing Committee meeting on 20 April, said:
"Training for members plays a crucial role in improving notification performance. We congratulate the Secretariat for completing the second Workshop on Import Licensing today. The high quality of the workshop has set a model for similar efforts in other areas. This is a very solid support to members in complying with their notification requirements."
The workshop participants were also invited to attend the Committee meeting, at which they had the opportunity to gain some exposure to how trade issues are handled in practice.