For several years, a group of students from a variety of countries have come to Switzerland to participate in a six-day intensive negotiating exercise. Each student acts as the representative of a WTO member in various negotiating committees and works with the rest of the group to produce a final ministerial declaration.
For Model WTO 2019, students concentrated on ways of reforming the WTO, dealing with actual WTO challenges such as transparency obligations, the value of committee work, dispute avoidance, classification of a WTO member’s status, improving the WTO’s negotiating functions and review of Appellate Body procedures. Throughout the negotiations, participants were able to count on the support of the WTO Secretariat and the WTO delegations they represented.
During the closing ceremony, speakers from WTO members, the Secretariat and the academic world praised the participants, originating from 23 countries, for their dedication and the high quality of their output.
In his closing remarks, WTO Deputy Director-General Xiaozhun Yi highlighted the importance of experiencing how difficult it is to reach agreement on a set of very challenging issues. He thanked the students for taking time away from their courses and said: “We hope that we will see some of you again in the future as colleagues in the WTO secretariat or WTO delegates.”
The WTO is a strong supporter of Model WTO because it provides tomorrow’s generation of decision-makers with the opportunity to better understand the multilateral trading system and experience the dynamics of trade negotiations.