Geneva-MSME Connection: South and Southeast Asia 2021

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This informal forum for WTO delegates from selected South and Southeast Asian developing countries supports them to be better equipped in their day-to-day work at the WTO, as well as in their preparation for the upcoming MC12. It also aims to link them with their national private sectors, particularly the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) so that their participation in the relevant WTO negotiations and MC12 preparatory meetings is more fully aligned with on-the-ground conditions. It would be a contribution towards building a more inclusive trading system and support a sustainable recovery post-COVID-19.

Why this project?

WTO delegates in Geneva are not always fully aware of the interests and concerns of their private sector, particularly MSMEs. This can lead to participations and actions which do not adequately address trade impediments actually faced by their MSMEs. This problem can be most pronounced for smaller developing and least developed country delegations, which lack the resources and established systems in capitals to undertake broad stakeholder consultations regularly.

In this challenging time for the multilateral trading system (MTS), with COVID-19 severely impacting economic and development patterns all across the world, while protectionism becomes more prominent in political speeches and actions; helping MSMEs to join trade flows in greater numbers will go a long way to improving the lives of individuals and communities around the world.

How we support

With this initiative, WTO delegates from selected South and Southeast Asian countries hold informal forum meetings to first identify and then pursue their interests in the WTO negotiations and Regular Bodies as well as Joint Statement and other plurilateral initiatives. The project supports this through technical assistance (i.e. regional update notes on selected topics, feedbacks from relevant stakeholders/MSMEs in the capitals, and on-demand briefing notes and research studies) as well as organisation of informal encounters for technical exchanges and discussions.



To contribute to better South and South Asian delegations’ participation in the WTO work and negotiations that is more aligned with on-the-ground conditions faced by their MSMEs and in preparations for MC12