Geneva Trade and Business Connection

South and Southeast Asia

About the Project

Geneva Trade Connexion Forum

CUTS International, in partnership with partners on the ground in selected South & South-East Asian developing countries, aims to improve the capacity of private sectors in these countries to input into their WTO delegates positions. Connecting these stakeholders contributes to South & South-East Asian developing country negotiating positions more fully aligned with the on-the-ground conditions faced by their business communities and ultimately to improved private sector development at the national level.

WTO negotiators in Geneva are not always fully aware of the interests and concerns of their private sectors. This can lead to negotiating positions which do not adequately address trade impediments. This problem can be most pronounced for developing and least developed country delegations, such as some South & South-East Asian countries, which lack the resources and established systems in capitals to undertake broad stakeholder consultation.

During the first phase of the project a comprehensive analysis led to a better understanding of the dynamics of domestic policy making environment. As means of assessing the inclusiveness of trade policy making the Inclusive Trade Policy Making Index (ITPMI) was developed. Cross-country comparisons helped to help identify best practices, while the identification of in-country weaknesses and gaps provided a basis for targeted action, capacity building and awareness-raising at the national level.

This can be mitigated by creating and maintaining regular communication channels and mechanisms, supported by demand-driven research and analysis. The proposed project by CUTS International aims to do that by:

Enhancing knowledge of WTO delegates on their private sector constituencies’ needs and challenges.

Enhancing knowledge of private sector constituencies on the functioning of the WTO.

Establishing foundations for lasting links between WTO delegates and their private sector constituencies so that objectives one and two can be independently sustainable beyond the life of the project.

Key features


Bridging the gap between South and Southeast Asian WTO delegates and their national private sectors.


October 2015 - July 2016


South & South-East Asia


Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Nepal Economic Association

Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME Institute)

Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS)

CUTS International, Hanoi Resource Centre




docProject Brief




Country Updates

Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs):

Manufactured Exports:

Services (WTO):

Trade Facilitation:

SPS Measures: