Course Information
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  Course Information
Introduction and Background

Prior to the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which were concluded in December 1993, multilateral trade negotiations were seen as a preserve of the developed countries and the developing countries have only a marginal role to play in the negotiation process; they were primarily the recipients of preferential market access and other special differential treatment. Since the Uruguay Round, although the developing countries have been actively involved in the negotiation process, they face serious challenges in keeping pace with the growing area of international trade law. Their role in the negotiation process is limited due to certain imbalances in their negotiation preparedness, structures and outcomes. Negotiators from developing countries face serious challenges to catch up and keep pace with, and even to influence the scope and outcome of negotiations that serve the best interests of their countries.

This course aims to assist the negotiators and government officials of developing and least-developed countries in their preparations for future multilateral trade negotiations. The course will enhance their knowledge and disseminate information about various trade negotiation skills and techniques, which will enable them to better prepare for future multilateral trade negotiations, become 'well-informed' and fully benefit from their participation by becoming equal partners in the negotiating process. The course will provide a comprehensive overview of the concept of negotiations, background and special characteristics of multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO and how to strategically prepare and plan in conducting successful negotiations. It will also help participants gain greater insight into various negotiation issues currently involved in different WTO Agreements.

Registration Status: OPEN
Deadline for Enrollment: when slots are full
Course Dates: November 8 to December 10, 2010
Estimated learning time: Minimum of 35 hours
Format: Online/Internet-based (asynchronous)
Language of Instruction: English
Fees: US $ 400/-
Helpline: UNITAR Geneva (Course Administration and Technical Questions)
  Course Objectives  
At the end of the course, the participants should be able to:

1. Differentiate between bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations;

2. Illustrate how multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO are done;

3. Examine the problems faced by both the developing and the least developed countries as regards multilateral negotiations;

4. Formulate a sound negotiation strategy;

5. Analyze the significance of data required for a multilateral trade negotiation; and

6. Assess various issues that may arise during negotiation processes related to WTO Agreements such as agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT), trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), and trade in services.

  Target Audience  

This foundation course is designed for government officials, trade experts, government lawyers and negotiators who serve their government in regional or international trade negotiations. The course is beneficial for all other participants including policy advocates, academics, researchers, and the members from the wider public, who are interested in learning about the structuring and negotiating of multilateral trade agreements.

  Course Structure / Outline  

This course will comprise of the following modules.

Module I - The Concept of Trade Negotiations: An Overview

This Module will discuss the concept of trade negotiations, the definitions and different types of negotiations. The Module will also provide information on the economic rationale for continued trade liberalisation, give an overview of both bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and will discuss the complexities involved and the rationale for adopting the multilateral approach.

Module II - General Introduction to WTO Negotiations

This Module will discuss the background and special characteristics of multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO, the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and the most recent Doha Development Round. The Module will discuss the participation of developing countries in the Uruguay Round and the Doha Development Round, and will also examine the most frequent problems faced by the least developed countries (LDCs) and the developing countries in their efforts to effectively participate in multilateral trade negotiations and to keep pace with their multilateral trade negotiation commitments.

Module III - Multilateral Trade Negotiations: Strategic Planning and Preparation

This Module will discuss the negotiation life cycle, key steps of a negotiation process and the selection of different tactics for different trade negotiations. The Module will emphasize the significance of thoughtful planning and preparation, which is based on good research and anlaysis, in a negotiation process. With the help of case studies, the Module will discuss in detail the theory and role of 'Coalition Formation' with like-minded countries during multilateral trade negotiations.

Module IV - Information Requirements in a Negotiation Process

This Module will discuss the significance of different sets of information required to reach successful negotiations in a multilateral trade negotiation process. The Module will discuss the information requirements at different steps of trade negotiations and in different types of trade negotiations. It will also explain how to accumulate and analyse the collected information and data to participate effectively in the negotiation process.

Module V - Negotiating Issues in Different WTO Agreements

This Module will briefly discuss and analyse various issues that are most likely to arise in the negotiating process related to the Agreements on agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT), trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) and trade in services. The Module will discuss how developing countries should be better prepared for further negotiations and have their interests reflected in any further changes to the rules by assessing the working of the Agreements from their perspective.

  Other Course-related Information
This course will be conducted over the internet using UNITAR's e-Learning infrastructure for a five-week period. Participants will require a minimum of 90 minutes of study each day. The course pedagogy will allow for three levels of interaction. At the first level, the participants will interact with the training content. At the second level, the participants will interact with other participants to share experiences and learn in a contextual manner (using an online discussion board facility). At the third level, the participants will interact with a seasoned international negotiator (course mentor) who will moderate the course for its entire duration. At the core of this course is a set of online interactions and discussions, each of which will be coached by an expert.

UNITAR online courses attempt to create a networked learning environment, in which participants have the flexibility to learn at their own convenience and pace but also are able to interact with peers and experts through the discussion board facility.

This online course will be conducted in the English language.


This course is designed as an online course in which participants will be primarily responsible for their own learning. Each lesson will consist of the following components:

1) Basic Reading Materials (Compulsory Reading Materials): these materials are intended to educate the participants about the basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject-matter of the lesson. It will include, where appropriate, sample materials. These materials will constitute the required reading materials for the lesson

2) Advanced Reading Materials (Optional Reading Materials): this will consist of optional reading materials for participants who wish to learn more about the topic than what is covered in the lesson.

3) External Links: This will refer the interested participants to additional books, articles, documents, and websites that deal with the issues raised in the lesson.

4) Quizzes: At the end of each lesson there will be a set of quizzes for participants to answer. These quizzes are designed to test the participant's understanding of the lesson. Participants are required to pass each quiz and obtain at least 80% or more passing grade in order to be eligible for a certificate. All quizzes will need to be taken online.

5) Community Discussion Board: There will be a community discussion board available on which participants can post questions or comments that can be seen by the instructor and the other participants. This discussion board will be moderated by the course director and UNITAR. Structured discussion strings will be posted on a weekly basis.

All successful participants will be eligible to a certificate after completion of this online course.


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