Austria has demonstrated its commitment to supporting developing economies' engagement in international trade by contributing EUR 200,000 (approximately CHF 190,000) to the Global Trust Fund in 2024. This financial contribution is aimed at facilitating greater participation and expertise in global trade for developing nations. A significant portion of this funding will be directed towards the WTO Chairs Programme, an initiative focused on enhancing trade-related academic activities in developing economies and least-developed countries (LDCs), involving 36 universities worldwide.
Academic institutions participating in the WTO Chairs Programme receive both financial support and technical assistance from the WTO. These resources enable them to engage in trade-related research, develop curricula, and conduct outreach activities. The overarching goal is to enhance the capacity of these institutions to provide valuable advice to governments and key stakeholders on trade policy matters.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the WTO, acknowledged the pivotal role played by the WTO Chairs Programme in utilizing academic research to inform trade policy decisions in developing nations and LDCs. This approach aims to enhance sustainable economic growth and development, ultimately improving the lives and livelihoods of people.
Martin Kocher, Austria's Minister for Labour and Economy, emphasized the significance of Austria's contribution to the WTO Chairs Programme. He highlighted the importance of fostering understanding of global and regional trade issues in developing countries and LDCs. Keeping markets open, promoting research at various levels, and advocating for a fair and equitable playing field in multilateral trade are key strategies that can contribute to boosting economic growth and job creation, particularly during challenging times.
Austria's contribution to the WTO Chairs Programme reflects its longstanding commitment to supporting trade-related initiatives. Over the past two decades, Austria has contributed approximately CHF 6 million to various WTO Trust Funds, further demonstrating its dedication to facilitating international trade development.