The World Trade Organization (WTO) has welcomed a donation from the government of Norway to help developing countries build up their trade capacity.
A commitment of nearly CHF 3.5 million (€3.21 million) will be made to various WTO trust funds to help developing and least-developed countries participate in multilateral trade negotiations, access agricultural markets and implement the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
Of this total, around CHF 1 million will be provided to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund to finance training workshops on trade negotiations in Geneva and elsewhere, which will be aimed at government officials from poorer nations. Meanwhile, CHF 500,000 will be given to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) to help smaller countries access agricultural markets.
The STDF is a global partnership established to help the WTO's poorest members implement new and improved sanitary and phytosanitary standards in key areas such as food safety, animal health and plant health.
Finally, CHF 2 million will go towards supporting the TFA Facility, which was created at the request of developing countries in November 2014 to help them reap the full benefits of the TFA.
Concluded in December 2013, the TFA is intended to facilitate the movement, release and clearance of goods on a global basis by removing unnecessary bureaucracy, and was designed with an acknowledgement that poorer nations may need additional time and support to implement the measures needed. This money from Norway will help to make this a reality.
WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo said: "Norway's generous contribution is very welcome. It will be essential for enhancing the integration of developing and least-developed countries into the multilateral trading system, so as to help foster economic growth and raise living standards in these countries."
This underlines Norway's status as the single largest contributor to several WTO trust funds, having donated more than CHF 36 million since 2001.