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 . NEED FOR INTERNAL COORDINATION AND CONSULTATION While the activities most typically associated with the trade ministry concern relations ...

 . NEED FOR INTERNAL COORDINATION AND CONSULTATION While the activities most typically associated with the trade ministry concern relations with its foreign counterparts, the day-to-day operations of that ministry will more typically involve domestic consultations. Properly conceived, the most important function of the trade ministry in a developing country is to ensure that country’s trade instruments — including its international agreements and domestic laws — serve the broader interest of promoting national development. The trade ministry is also tasked with ensuring that the other laws and agreements of the country are consistent with the legal obligations that it has undertaken in WTO and other agreements. 

Taken together, these functions constitute the domestic diplomacy of trade policymaking. In order to act effectively as the country’s agent abroad, the ministry must be intimately engaged in policymaking at home. That domestic diplomacy requires that the ministry in charge of this topic coordinate closely with other government agencies, and consult fully with representatives of civil society. That is necessary not 54 TRADE POLICY FRAMEWORKS FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: 

A MANUAL OF BEST PRACTICES Box 6. Capacity-building programmes for trade officials Numerous programmes are available to help trade ministries and other government agencies overcome their skills deficits. Some of these are hosted (and often paid for) by international organizations, while others are offered by universities on either a degree or a non-degree basis. The choice of which type of programme to pursue, and where to pursue it, depends in part on how much time and money a ministry or its employees can afford to invest. While tuition and other costs for some university programmes can be high, assistance may be available from development banks and other donors; further information can be had from the WTO’s Global Trade-Related Technical Assistance Database. For those already in government, the most significant expense may be the opportunity cost of time spent out of the office. The investment should nevertheless pay off if programmes impart the needed skills. Expenses can also be reduced by using the online training modules that WTO increasingly favours over face-to-face courses. UNCTAD provides toolbox on trade-related capacity building support and training for trade negotiators and policymakers from developing countries on Trade Policy Frameworks, multilateral and regional trade negotiations including WTO accession, and services development and trade, including Services Policy Reviews (SPRs). Of particular note is UNCTAD’s toolkit on services, combining analytical studies on all aspects of services including services sector development and structural transformation, Service Policy Reviews, Multi-year Expert Meeting on Trade Services and Development and the Global Services Forum. Through SPRs, UNCTAD supports policymakers in assessing the potential of services capacities as well as various options for policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks, the findings of which could be fed into national policymaking and international trade negotiating process. Trade Policy Framework supported national trade policy stakeholders in raising awareness and building their understanding on the contribution of trade to sustainable development and the formulation of Sustainable Development Goal-oriented trade policy frameworks. Training is also available from universities, where programmes can last anywhere from days to years. At one extreme are the masters or even doctoral programmes in public policy that allow students to specialize in trade and related fields. The Paris School of International Affairs and Sciences Po, for example, jointly administer a Master’s in International Economic Policy programme. Some universities have specialized, one-year programmes that grant interdisciplinary master’s degrees in this field, such as: The International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO) programme at the University of Barcelona; The Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, University of the West Indies; and, The University of Bern’s World Trade Institute has a programme. Some universities have much shorter executive education programmes that are built around the needs of busy professionals. The Harvard Kennedy School’s course entitled Mastering Trade Policy compresses a semester of economics, law, and negotiations theory into 10 intensive days. Other schools with non-degree programmes on trade and related topics include the College of Europe, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the London School of Economics, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Some schools also offer specialized courses to be delivered either onsite or at the university’s home campus. merely to ensure that trade policy per se is effective, but also to make it consonant with the broader development goals of the country. While trade and development goals are not in direct conflict, reconciling their sometimes-divergent objectives can raise difficult questions of priorities and coherence. The expanding subject matter of trade policy multiplies the risk that officials in different areas of public policy might work at cross purposes. In the absence of a cooperative and collegial approach among all ministries with an interest in trade-related matters, negotiators will not have the information they need to reach agreements with their foreign counterparts, nor can they be certain of receiving the political support necessary to approve and implement these agreements at home. In this age of deeper integration and wider commitments, there is also greater jeopardy that a ministry with jurisdiction over some traderelated topic (broadly defined) may unknowingly take action that violates a pledge the country has made to its partners in WTO or some other trade agreement. Active and effective trade policymaking depends critically upon consultation between the government and the private sector, and between the many different governmental bodies that are either directly or indirectly involved in making and executing trade policy (box 7). These consultations must take place in both directions, such that trade and non-trade people speak to one another about how trade initiatives affect other areas of public policy and vice versa. Consultation is not a one-off proposition, but must instead be done regularly before negotiations commence (when researching the V. TRADE POLICYMAKING INSTITUTIONS 55 Box 7. Consultative mechanisms in developing countries: Examples from TPFs “A well-articulated trade policy with buy-in from the trade policy community has higher probabilities of providing effective guidance for applying a holistic and coordinated approach to trade policy formulation, negotiations, implementation, monitoring and reporting, ” according to the TPF for Rwanda (p.4). “In a situation where each individual ministry dealing with some elements of trade has often done things disparately,” according to the report, “it has not been easy to fashion and implement a coherent ‘one-shop trade policy’.” That TPF likened the role of the MTI not to an isolated ship, but instead to a “tugboat pulling the barge” that carries all other relevant ministries and stakeholders. It recommended that a Trade Development Board be set up “at the senior policymaking level to serve as the governing and coordinating mechanism under which inclusive decision-making would take place to formulate, adjust and implement the development-oriented trade policy” (p.57). Other TPFs highlight the importance of consultative bodies in their respective countries, such as the following: • In 2004 Algeria created the Conseil National Consultatif pour la Promotion des Exportations, which is supposed to be chaired by the head of government, but the institution has yet to be installed. The TPF also observed that in 2013 a Doing Business Committee was set up, but questioned its capacity to coordinate interministerial action. It proposed creation of a higher-level structure with greater legal powers to enact reforms. • Botswana has both a High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) to manage the partnership between government, the private sector, and civil society, as well as a National Committee on Trade Policy Negotiations (NCTPN). The HLCC includes all cabinet ministers and industrial stakeholders, while the NCTPN has a wider membership as well as a network of technical committees.

 The government also established a National Doing Business Committee to improve the country’s standing in that World Bank index. The assessment report observed that the linkages between these bodies are “unclear and require further investigation” so as to avoid duplicative efforts (p.44). • The Jamaica Trade and Adjustment Team (JTAT) dates from 2001, and provides for consultations and coordination between the public and private sectors. Its membership includes the trade-related ministries of government, representatives of four business organizations, trade unions, civil society groups, and academia. • Zambia has a National Working Group on Trade (NWGT) consisting of representatives from other government agencies and stakeholders from the private sector. “There are, however, some limitations to the … arrangement,” according to the TPF for Zambia. “[T]he arrangement is not institutionalized,” and it “does not meet regularly [and] is not funded.” The TPF suggested that the NWGT be re-examined with a view to its reorganization, and that the trade ministry itself may need to be restructured. facts, deciding whether a specific agreement should be pursued, and devising the country’s negotiating objectives), while negotiations are underway (when responding to a partner’s proposals and adjusting one’s own positions), and after negotiations have been concluded (when approving, implementing, and taking full advantage of agreements). The need for interministerial cooperation is quite evident in the execution of any national measures that are not designed for the express purpose of taxing or regulating trade, but that nonetheless have a significant effect on the movement of tradeables between countries. This category includes not only those areas where the connections with trade are obvious, such as agricultural policy and industrial strategy, but also such diverse areas as the environment, the budget, social programmes, and cultural policy. It is vitally important that a trade ministry act as the custodian of the commitments that a country has made in WTO and in its other international agreements, so as to ensure that other agencies do not enact laws or adopt regulations that inadvertently place the country at risk of dispute-settlement cases.

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