ITC's work will increase the business sectors - including women's associations - awareness of the WTO accession process and benefits
Uzbekistan will have an increased capacity to comply with WTO Rules, in particular with regards to the SPS/TBT & Trade Facilitation Agreements of the WTO
The policymakers' understanding of the WTO accession process and it's legal framework will be reinforced
The executive and legislative branches wil be better informed to develop specific sectoral laws and regulations as needed to comply with Uzbekistan's new international commitments
The Uzbek government will be better equipped to draft the documents and develop its negotiating positions as required by the WTO accession procces
Six government officials – including one of Uzbekistan’s WTO negotiating team – are attending courses at the World Trade Institute’s Winter Academy in January and February 2024. The WTI Winter Academy covers cutting-edge issues in trade and investment law and policy.The ITC arranged the technocrats’ participation in the academy to help foster deep knowledge about WTO disciplines as Uzbekistan gears up to join the multilateral trading system, which is governed by the WTO. The officials all hold crucial positions in their institutions. Two of them are also involved in drafting pioneering trade remedy legislation for the country to meet the WTO requirements.The delegates represent Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade (MIIT) and other specialist agencies for trade matters. These include the Competition Committee; the Competition Promotion and Consumer Protection Committee, the Customs Committee, and the Uzbek State Asset Management Agency.The courses align with the participants’ core responsibilities and cover the areas of WTO Law on Border Measures and Trade Facilitation; WTO Law on Anti-dumping and Safeguard Measures; WTO Law on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures; and Law and Policy of Trade in Services.Various trade professionals, who are known as veterans in their respective fields, are presenting the courses at the prestigious World Trade Institute in Bern, which has long been recognized as among the best training grounds for policymakers and practitioners in the areas of global trade and investment.This will allow the trainees to engage counterparts from other countries, as well as establish contact with top trade experts, and practitioners in trade remedies, market access, and trade in services fields.The European Union (EU) funded the officials’ enrollment under the project Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO, of which the ITC is the implementing partner.
As Uzbekistan readies to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), businesses are learning the global trade rules on farm goods.Agriculture earns a quarter of Uzbekistan’s gross domestic product and employs 27% of the workforce. That’s more than any other sector, and makes agriculture the most effective driver of reducing poverty and inequality, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.That could become even more true as Uzbekistan joins the rules-based world economy.Training by the International Trade Centre (ITC) brought together producers of agricultural goods in all of the country’s regions. Workshops were held in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Kashkadarya, Khorezm and Samarkand regions in January 2023. And during June and July 2023, a further nine workshops took place in Andijan, Bukhara, Djizzak, Ferghana, Namangan, Navoi, Syrdarya, Surkhandarya and Tashkent regions.Because farming directly affects security, countries tend to protect or support their sectors.Given that sensitivity, the training explained WTO’s approach to import tariffs. The trade body has capped and gradually brought down these duties to reduce the cost of traded goods over time. WTO rules also ensure tariffs are fair, without favouring some countries over others.Agricultural subsidy ‘boxes’ explainedThe WTO’s arcane subsidy categories were also unpacked. The so-called green box, amber box and blue box categories show which subsidies are allowed.Special and differential treatment was explained. Under this principle, developing countries have easier tariff reduction regimes than developed countries for a softer transition. This allows them to maintain higher levels of duties because of their sensitivities.The workshops were attended by 191 participants from agricultural producer and exporter companies, most at management or board level. A further 89 officials from relevant government organizations also participated.About the projectThe training was organized by the ITC with funding from the European Union under the Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO project envelope. The five-year initiative supports Uzbekistan's development plans to modernize its economy by leveraging its WTO accession process. One of the key pillars of the project is to ensure that the private sector, including women’s business associations, are sufficiently familiarized with the effects WTO membership will have on them and how they can participate to benefit.
The terms set for access to Uzbekistan’s market will form the cornerstone of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Merchandize trade makes up more than 54% of Uzbekistan’s gross domestic product, according to data from the World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution database. This means the concessions and commitments it negotiates in the WTO in the area of goods will largely shape Uzbekistan’s economy when it joins the world economy. While there has been an exponential rise in services and technology-oriented issues in the global trading system, basic access of goods to markets remains the bulwark that anchors a country’s accession agreement with other WTO Members. Market access espouses the fundamental principles upon which countries agree to trade with one another under WTO rules. These staple elements include predictability, transparency, and fair competition that does not favour some countries over others. They are all aimed to advance growth-oriented economic reform and thereby contribute to a country’s development. Central to market access is the schedule of commitments, which an acceding government negotiates with its WTO partners before joining the organization. This fixes the tariffs levied when goods are imported into the country. Chief negotiator participates To unpack this cornerstone aspect of the WTO negotiations, the ITC organized a three-day training workshop for officials and trade associations in Uzbekistan. The workshop took place in Tashkent from 4 to 6 October and was opened by the special representative of the President of Uzbekistan on WTO issues and chief negotiator, Azizbek Urunov. Participants were given an overview of the WTO’s origin and functioning. And then the first two days treated fundamental elements such as the schedule of commitments and how the bilateral negotiations to establish market access to goods work. The last day took a hybrid format, which enabled the participation of remote parties, including key representatives of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. They gave valuable practical advice on their countries’ experience of negotiating market access and how to handle specific challenges. WTO representatives also participated and gave an update of the state of play of Uzbekistan’s accession process. Participants in the workshop included representatives of the presidency, and the Ministries of Investment, Industry and Trade; of Justice; of Economy and Finance; and of Agriculture, as well as relevant state agencies such as the Customs Committee, the Competition Promotion and Consumer Protection Committee. Representatives of key industry associations also benefited from the workshop. The training was funded by the European Union under its project Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO.
A niche workshop series for technicians helped build crucial knowledge to adopt international standards. International standards are an important signpost for global traders. Set by relevant international bodies, they ensure the safety and quality of products and help advance more efficient and cost-effective practices. The more international standards are used and recognized globally, the more they help reduce the burden of unnecessary cross-border regulations. Moreover, if a country follows them, its producers can trade on global markets. In the area of technical regulations, WTO Members are committed to comply with the rules and requirements under the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. This means when Uzbekistan becomes a WTO Member it effectively has to comply with global technical standards. Specialized workshop series The ITC held a workshop series between July and October 2023 to develop the technical know how of relevant agencies in Uzbekistan dealing with such matters. Five modules were offered, covering key aspects in the field. Different international standards and their scope of application were under scrutiny in the first module, followed by a module on the benefits of standards and how they can advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The third module was dedicated to the European standardization system, as the EU is an important trading partner of Uzbekistan. The fourth module unpacked the process of adopting international standards. And the last module treated good practices in developing standards, and the financing of national standards bodies. The latter are agencies that develop national standards. As WTO Members are expected to 'play a full part, within the limits of their resources' in standard setting processes by international standardizing bodies, national standards bodies help ensure a country’s compliance with this requirement. However, the legal status of these bodies can vary from state-owned to fully private. This means their revenue models also vary. Using case studies, the last leg of the training unpacked the financing models of national standards bodies and explained intellectual property rights related to standards. Participants also came to grips with the six principles that guide the development of international standards and were introduced to the WTO ISO Standards Information Gateway. The latter is a list of all standardizing bodies party to the TBT Agreement’s Code of Good Conduct, and with information on their work programmes. Just under 300 technicians attended the various modules of the workshop series, with some attending multiple modules. The results of pre- and post-workshop assessments for participants who took them showed an 84% improvement in their knowledge about the adoption of international standards. Technical agencies across the spectrum benefited from the training, including the Agency for Technical Regulation, the Institute of Standards and the National Institute of Metrology. University professors of relevant departments also had opportunity to attend. The workshop series was funded by the European Union under its project Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO.
A 42-strong delegation headed by Uzbekistan’s recently-appointed chief negotiator, Mr. Azizbek Urunov, traveled to Geneva for the 7th Working Party Meeting (WPM) at the World Trade Organization on 16 November 2023. It was the second such meeting this year to advance Uzbekistan’s accession – testimony to renewed momentum as the country doubles down on its commitment to join the multilateral trading system established under the WTO. The 6th WPM was held in March 2023. The WPMs are key signposts in the journey to WTO accession. At these meetings acceding countries negotiate the terms of their trade policy regime on which they will join the WTO. This multilateral track of negotiations is backed by the meetings taking place at the bilateral level to negotiate the level of market access openness. The market access schedules of commitments will fix the conditions for imported goods and foreign services supplied into Uzbekistan’s market. In this manner transparent and predictable market conditions are created. This helps boost confidence and trust in a country’s economic environment. In turn, this can help improve trade and investment flows to boost growth and development. ITC helped prepare negotiators The ITC propped up preparations ahead of the 7th WPM. It helped prepare answers to the questions raised by WTO Members at the previous WPM. This formed the basis for the agenda of the latest WPM. The ITC also facilitated the participation of several officials of Uzbekistan’s delegation in the multilateral and bilateral negotiation rounds and sponsored Russian interpretation that was requested for the WPM. The delegation’s visit to Geneva gave opportunity for Mr. Urunov to meet with Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the ITC’s Executive Director, after the WPM. They discussed Uzbekistan’s future support needs. The ITC aids Uzbekistan’s accession process with an array of technical and capacity-building activities. This is funded by the European Union under the project Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO. The ITC also buttressed the technical expertise of Uzbekistan’s negotiation team ahead of the meeting. Two experts traveled to Tashkent in October to help prepare the negotiators for the market access negotiations, both in goods and services. This equipped the team to shoulder this crucial component of the negotiations.
Technicians come to grips with pest risk analysis, rules on pesticide use Few trade areas are as complex, yet key to consumer protection as rules on food imports. The standards and requirements have to strike a fine balance: ensuring food is safe without being overly protectionist, thereby harming other countries’ exporters. Rules on how to develop standards for human, animal and plant health while not impeding trade, are set out in the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS). They must also follow international standards such as those of the International Plant Protection Convention. Uzbek technical experts were trained on key aspects of these requirements to equip them to implement the rules when the country joins the WTO. Three seminars, held in Tashkent, were organized with funding from the European Union under the project Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO. Two seminars were on the topics of pest risk analysis (12-16 June), and how pesticides are used (19-23 June). Under the lens were the rules and practices of the European Union, an attractive market for exports from Uzbekistan.The seminars focused on practical group work. With pest risk analysis, attendees developed scenarios to assess pests populations, such as those of melon and cherry flies, and the pomegranate fruit pest. They also learned the ropes on registration procedures for pesticides and rules on their marketing. Transparency is key A third workshop (20-24 June) showed how to set up and operate an SPS National Enquiry Point (NEP) and a National Notification Authority (NNA). These are mandated for WTO members and ensure transparency on SPS measures. The NNA notifies other countries about changes to SPS measures; the NEP answer questions other WTO members might have about SPS measures in place. The session also introduced attendees to the WTO’s new ePing platform for measures on SPS, which enables the digital tracking of measures. Attendees praised the practical use of the training. Mamatkulov Zokirjon, lead specialist of Uzbekistan’s Agency for Technical Regulation, said it was ‘a great resource to obtain the necessary information.’ Thirty-eight Uzbek officials from agencies involved in SPS matters benefited, including the Agency of Plant Protection and Quarantine, the Sanitary Epidemiological Welfare and Public Health Committee and the State Committee of Veterinary and Livestock Development, About the project The ITC is the implementing partner of the European Union’s Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO project. The five-year initiative supports Uzbekistan's negotiations at the WTO and helps develop technical skills to implement its rules. The project’s ultimate objective is to contribute to the country’s economic development.
A workshop helps navigate technical requirements on products for exports. These measures include technical requirements on goods – from kettles and toasters to chain saws and tractors – to vouch for their quality and safety. Packaging, labelling and information about product use are some non-tariff measures, known as technical barriers to trade (TBT). The WTO’s TBT Agreement deals with these issues. In preparation for Uzbekistan’s WTO accession, officials dealing with technical regulations received training on how to navigate the European Union’s TBT rules. The workshop was held from 20 to 22 June in Tashkent. It introduced the EU’s framework on non-food products: the General Product Safety Directive. Attendees learned where to locate the latest version of the legislation. Conformity assessment Subsequent sessions focused on conformity assessment and the EU’s web-based Rapid Alert System (Safety Gate), which ensures swift action to protect consumers. The workshop also addressed products with higher-risk features, notably mechanical and electrotechnical goods. The training was facilitated by the ITC with European Union funding under the Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO project. Feedback was positive. One of the attendees found valuable that the training pointed out which EU requirements are mandatory and which voluntary. Another attendee appreciated the sharing of materials and websites where information about EU technical requirements could be found. TBT mission to Geneva, Brussels The project also facilitated a mission for Uzbek officials. Three officials attended a TBT Committee meeting in Geneva and met with the Swiss TBT National Enquiry Point and National Notification Authority. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) were also visited. The delegation then travelled to Brussels to meet staff of the EU’s National Enquiry Point to discuss the functioning of the facility. Attendants at the TBT training in Tashkent.Photo by ITC About the project The ITC is the implementing partner of the European Union’s Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO project. The initiative supports Uzbekistan's WTO negotiations and helps develop skills to implement its rules. The project aim is to contribute to the country’s economic development.
Europe Day was celebrated in Tashkent with a fair that showed how an EU-funded project supports Uzbekistan’s accession process to the World Trade Organization.Europe Day celebrates peace and unity within the European Union, which marked the occasion on 6 May in Tashkent with a festival that showcased EU-funded projects. The fair displayed cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan, and the sharing of technical expertise.Ambassador speaks in front of Europe Day bannerEU Ambassador Charlotte Adriaen was the keynote speaker at the Europe Day celebrations.Photo by EU Delegation, TashkentThe EU-funded project onFacilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO, implemented by the ITC, used its stand at the fair to share with the public and the media the project’s progress.As Uzbekistan’s World Trade Organization accession advances, it’s important for the public to understand what to expect when the country integrates into the global economy.Visitors learned about key WTO topics, such as trade facilitation and rules that cover goods and services, agriculture, intellectual property, and more. Information brochures and videos were available.Preparing for new opportunitiesFor WTO membership to benefit the country, Uzbekistan’s enterprises also need to understand whatcould happen when the country opens its borders and learn how to tap into the opportunities this could create for them.With private sector buy-in, integration in the global economy can bolster economic growth and development in the country.WTO membership promotes economic stability through transparent economic and trade policies. This prevents members from imposing arbitrary trade barriers on one another, which also helps to lower the prices of goods and services for consumers.A stable business environment becomes growth-directed through greater market access and predictable prices.About the projectThe ITC is the implementing partner of theEuropean Union’sFacilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accessionto the WTO project. The five-year initiative seeks to support Uzbekistan's development plans to modernize its economy by leveraging its WTO accession process. The overarching objective of the project is to contribute to the country’s economic development.
With Uzbekistan poised to join the global economy, WTO membership can also be a springboard for regional integration among Central Asian countries. Economic cooperation between Central Asia’s five ‘Stans’ – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – could be bolstered if the republics harmonized their trade rules and procedures. This emerged at the Astana International Forum, a high-level event that took place on 8 and 9 June in Astana, Kazakstan. A side-session on ‘Central Asia in the Multilateral Trading System: The Case For WTO Accession’ discussed integration between the ‘Stans’ and how this can bolster regional resilience and connectivity. The session was jointly offered by the Government of Kazakhstan, theWorld Trade Organization (WTO)and theInternational Trade Centre (ITC). Greater predictability in foreign markets access, which comes with WTO membership, will help entice foreign businesses to invest in the region. This can also enhance the transfer of technical know-how, the panelists explained. Maika Oshikawa, Director of the Accessions Division at the WTO, moderated the discussion. Two top officials from Kazakhstan and Tajikistan joined the panel to share their countries’ experience of joining the WTO. Ambassador Zhanar Aitzhanova is the permanent representative of Kazakhstan to the WTO. He was the country’s chief negotiator during its accession process. Nuriddinzoda Ahliddin is the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan. They gave assurances of support to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan during their accessions. Azizbek Urunov, the Special Representative of the President of Uzbekistan on WTO issues, is the country’s chief negotiator. He was joined by Rahimberdi Jepbarov, Chairman of the Board of the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan. They shared updates on their countries’ accession processes and reconfirmed their commitment to move towards WTO membership. Daria Karman, ITC Associate Programme Officer of Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business, provided an overview of the trade relations between Central Asian republics. Trade among CARs still modest She showed that trade between the Central Asian republics (CARs) comprises a modest 10% of their total trade, while China, the European Union, and Russia make up the bulk of their trade. Two thirds of the CARs’ imports and 57% of their exports belong to these three partners. Greater regional integration can be facilitated by accession to the WTO. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are already members of the global trade body. Turkmenistan’s accession process has only just started, while Uzbekistan’s journey to join the WTO is well underway. Both of these accession processes are assisted by the ITC, withfunding from the EU. About the project The projectFacilitating the Accession of Uzbekistan to the WTO, implemented by ITC, assists Uzbekistan to formulate its negotiating position. It also helps with the review of relevant laws and policies to comply with WTO requirements, builds technical capacity so officials will be able to administer WTO requirements, and raises awareness among private companies and civil society about the impending WTO membership. Support with building capacities of Turkmen government officials to start accession negotiations is provided under the regionalR4TCA initiativethat is implemented in five Central Asian countries, including Turkmenistan. These projects aim to support Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan’s development plans to modernize their economies by leveraging the WTO accession to contribute to their economic development.
Businesses sometimes fear negative effects when a country integrates into the world economy, but usually the move helps to unlock economic potential by stabilizing commerce through a transparent and predictable business environment. Explaining the effects therefore helps to demystify the process and shows business operators how to prepare themselves for the accession. As Uzbekistan progresses with its negotiation to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), private sector buy-in would be integral to ensure successful integration in the world economy. WTO membership will bring about significant changes to the country’s business operating environment and it is vital that the country’s business sector understands the effects and possible benefits that can be reaped from participating in the global economy. Towards this aim, a second series of private-sector-directed trainings was organized in four regions in Uzbekistan by the International Trade Centre – this time on the WTO disciplines governing agriculture. Important sector for Uzbekistan The sector is an important one for Uzbekistan. It contributes almost a quarter of Uzbekistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and is also the biggest employer, with fully 28 per cent of the labour force working on farms. Moreover, by FAO measure, the sector is also more effective than any other in ameliorating poverty and inequality. Agriculture is also strategically important for other WTO members because the sector has implications for countries’ food security. As such, agriculture is hived off under a separate agreement and has its own intricate rules, notably on subsidies. A separate set of requirements under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures is solely applicable to agriculture as it concerns the application of food safety and animal and plant health regulations. The training, provided by an international WTO expert, took place from 11 to 18 January in the Khorezm, Kashkadarya and Samarkand regions as well as in Karakalpakstan. It commenced with an overview of the WTO’s history and contextualized the creation of the Agreement on Agriculture. The measures countries employ to protect their agricultural sectors against imports were explained. The most common are tariffs levied on imports. It is these duties that the WTO system originally aimed to cap and gradually reduce to bring down the cost of traded goods over time and ensure that they are applied in a fair manner that does not favour some trading partners over others. The agriculture subsidy ‘boxes’ made easy The WTO’s very arcane subsidy categories were unpacked. Called the ‘green box’, ‘amber box’ and ‘blue box’, these categories indicate which kind of subsidies are forbidden under WTO rules and which allowed. Special and differential treatment was touched upon. Under this principle, it is ensured that developing countries have easier tariff reduction regimes for a softer transition than those set for the developed countries. This allows them to maintain higher levels of duties because of their sensitivities. The training was attended by 90 participants from agricultural producer companies, agricultural export companies, as well as regional plant protection and quarantine administrations, and local governing administrations. Subsequent modules will be presented in March and April and will cover other staple agreements. The SPS Agreement will come under the lens; non-tariff measures will be discussed – these so-called technical barriers to trade are covered under the TBT Agreement and include measures such as quotas, tariff-rate quotas, licensing requirements and other standards that countries deploy and may be deemed to hassle imports. And, finally a module will be offered on compensatory measures available to Uzbekistan in case it faces up to subsidized imports or if it believes imports are dumped in its market. The latter are contained in the Anti-Dumping Agreement, while the former forms part of the Agreement on Subsidies and Counterveiling Measures. The training was organized by the ITC with funding from theEuropean Union under theFacilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTOproject envelope. The five-year projectsupports Uzbekistan's development plans to modernize its economy by means of its WTO accession process. One of the key pillars of the project is to ensure that the private sector, including women’s business associations, are sufficiently familiarized with the effects WTO membership will have on them and how they can participate to benefit.
With the assistance of the International Trade Centre (ITC), seven Uzbekistan government officials participated in a range of trade-related courses offered by the World Trade Institute (WTI) during its Winter Academy between January and February 2023, in Berne, Switzerland. Attendance of the course formed part of ongoing support offered to Uzbekistan by the ITC with funding from the European Union (EU) to boost expertise and know-how as the country negotiates to become a World Trade Organization (WTO) member. The seven senior officials represented three state departments – one on tariff and non-tariff regulatory measures and the other two dealing, respectively, with cooperation with the WTO and with CIS countries. They participated in Winter Academy courses offered in their areas of work. The courses were, namely, on the WTO Law on Border Measures and Trade Facilitation; Anti-Dumping and Safeguard Measures; Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and a course on the Law and Policy of Trade in Services. The courses were offered by longstanding WTO specialists. The knowledge will enable the officials to practically apply WTO rules and requirements in their areas of responsibility once Uzbekistan is a member of the WTO. Chance to meet peers Apart from the substantive value of the courses, the officials’ participation in Berne also meant they were able to meet relevant international experts as well as peers from other countries in their areas of work. The training was facilitated under the EU-funded project ‘Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO’, of which the ITC is the implementing partner. The WTI is internationally acknowledged as a multidiciplinary academic centre focusing on advancing graduate and post-graduate education about the function and effects of global trade. The institute has been involved in other efforts to build trade-oriented knowledge in Uzbekistan. Apart from offering online and on-the-ground training to Uzbekistan’s officials, the WTI was also commissioned by the ITC to develop a tailor-made trade law course that will be taught by the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Uzbekistan (UWED) based in Tashkent.
A tailor-made WTO law course to be taught at Tashkent university will bolster long-term institutional capacity. Uzbekistan is negotiating to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). To ensure beneficial membership in the long run, there’s a need to build institutional knowledge to apply national laws and policies for the country to adhere to WTO rules. Specialized university education helps develop a new generation of policymakers, lawyers and economists with a deep understanding of international trade. Even at the global level, only a select number of universities can teach the intricacies of international trade, law and economy. The University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Uzbekistan (UWED) in Tashkent has recently joined their ranks. A course unique in Central Asia The respected World Trade Institute (WTI) in Berne, Switzerland, has developed a dedicated academic course in WTO law for UWED’s graduate andpostgraduate law programmes. The course was commissioned by the International Trade Centre (ITC) as part of a European Union-funded project to buttress Uzbekistan’s capacity and know-how in international trade in the lead-up to it joining the WTO. The course will embed trade law knowledge in an academic programme. Students will be prepared as future officials, lawyers and policy practitioners, extending the project support on WTO-related matters in the long run. Peter van den Bossche, Director of Studies of the WTI and a respected former judge of the WTO’s Appellate Body, said the course was unique in Central Asia. “The course will give students in-depth knowledge of WTO law and policy,” he said. “And obviously, that will benefit the students enormously when, upon graduation, they start working for the Uzbek government. They may, of course, also go into private practice, or consult companies or seek a career at international organizations.” For students and state officials The work unfolded in three stages, explained Rodrigo Polanco, the WTI’s Academic Coordinator of Advanced Masters Programmes, who headed the work on the course. As a first step, the WTI developed a complete two-semester WTO law curriculum of modules, comprising the study materials, slide presentations as well as assessments. The WTI then worked with the UWED to train the trainers -- that is, to equip lecturers of the university’s law department to teach the materials. As a further aid, bilateral meetings with lecturers guided them on how to make the lessons accessible both to students and government officials. The latter are an important target market for the course, because officials working in areas related to trade issues will have to hit the road running once Uzbekistan becomes a WTO member. Online guest lectures open to students, practitioners and members of the government introduced advanced trade law topics to a wider audience, Polanco said. “The goal is immense, and thanks to the participation in this project, we have the opportunity to attract not only our experts but also expertise recognized by the international community. Our university is making a unique contribution by offering this subject," noted Umid Yakubhodjaev, dean of the faculty at UWED. UWED makes unique contribution “The subject of WTO Law has now been introduced as a major subject in the Faculty of International Law, and was subsequently also added to the master’s programme,” added Yakubhodjaev. “The course provided a deeper understanding about the importance of joining the organization on conditions that are favorable for Uzbekistan,” said Asilbek Abdug'aniyev, a fourth-year student. Another postgraduate student, Abror Muhammadjonov, said the lectures provided useful information about the benefits of WTO accession. “It was very valuable to learn about this.”
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