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German Development Ministry increases support for developing countries in relation to WTO issues

Ship in the port of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Press release of 30.08.2017 |

BERLIN – Germany is increasing its support for developing countries in the area of trade policy. This decision was approved by the German government today. Developing countries in particular require assistance when it comes to implementing the legal requirements laid down by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This concerns, for example, dispute settlement proceedings for cases in which two countries disagree on whether there has been compliance with WTO law. Developing countries facing such questions receive support from the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. Germany is now stepping up its involvement in this organisation.

Development Minister Gerd Müller commented: "We are taking one more step towards making the WTO a fair trade organisation. We are strengthening the position of developing countries so that they have a say and can assert their rights."

The decision taken today by the German Cabinet provides for Germany to become an Associate Member of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. Germany is thus implementing an important element of the partnership with Africa which the G20 forged this year under Germany's Presidency.

Often, developing countries lack the capacity to assert their rights within the WTO. This is where the Advisory Centre on WTO Law comes in. It helps build developing countries' capacity with regard to WTO legal questions.

The Advisory Centre on WTO Law was founded in the margins of the 1999 WTO Ministerial Conference. The Centre is an organisation independent of the World Trade Organization and provides legal counsel to developing countries at their request in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. It also offers advice on WTO legal issues and organises courses on WTO law. At present, the Centre is actively involved in 16 dispute settlement proceedings. It enjoys international recognition as a good and affordable service provider for developing countries.

Just like all industrialised countries that are Associate Members, Germany will pay about 370,000 euros a year to the Centre over a period of five years.

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