Analytical Note, July 2003

Technical Assistance in the Area of Trade and Investment.

The Doha Ministerial Declaration (DMD) confirms the understanding among members that adequate, demand driven and recipient-controlled technical cooperation and capacity building constitute a core element of the development dimension of the multilateral trading system.

Commitments for enhanced technical assistance were made by members in eleven (11) specific areas of the DMD including the so called Singapore issues, that includes the relationship between Trade and Investment.

Paragraph 21 of the DMD states: ‘We recognize the needs of developing and least-developed countries for enhanced support for technical assistance and capacity building in this area [relationship between Trade and Investment], including policy analysis and development so that they may better evaluate the implications of closer multilateral cooperation for their development policies and objectives, and human and institutional development. To this end, we shall work in cooperation with other relevant intergovernmental organisations, including UNCTAD, and through appropriate regional and bilateral channels, to provide strengthened and adequately resourced assistance to respond to these needs’

Paragraph 41 of the DMD reaffirms such commitment and expresses the importance that members attach to the implementation of provisions on technical assistance and the adequacy of such assistance.

Some WTO members have directly contributed to the technical assistance efforts carried out within the Doha mandate on investment-related technical assistance, and have also highlighted their overall contribution in the context of their programmes on development assistance in general.

It is of utmost importance though to undertake quantitative as well as qualitative evaluation of technical assistance based on a needs assessment of the intended beneficiaries, having due regard to their stated objectives. Otherwise we risk to overestimate the impact of technical assistance and to draw misleading conclusions regarding the capacities of the beneficiaries.

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