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IPC Capacity Building Program

In 2002, the IPC presented a series of seminars for developing country negotiators in Geneva through a grant from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).   The Geneva seminar series provided practical advice and a forum for open discussion with IPC members - former agricultural trade negotiators from the United States, European Union and Canada; agribusiness executives and other trade experts - but also with other negotiators.  The seminar series was completed in January 2003 with the support of the Netherlands Department of Development Cooperation.

Participants in the Geneva Seminar Series cited a need for similar 'real world' advice and information to flow to officials in capitals as well as the broader community of agricultural stakeholders.  The IPC Capacity Building Program is focused on regions that will play in important role in shaping the future of the agricultural trade system.  The first seminar took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in February 2004 with the support of the United States Department of Agriculture.   The IPC plans to bring the program to Southeast Asia and the Andean Region of South America in 2004-2005. 

As a complement to the seminars, IPC Members involved in the program will analyze the information presented and discussed at the seminars and follow up on the specific needs expressed by seminar participants by publishing and distributing IPC Issue Briefs.  Issue Briefs are concise, practical publications - six to ten pages each - that address specific issues prompted by seminar discussions.  Issue Briefs clarify the topic addressed and, where relevant, provide specific recommendations rather than describe an ideal situation or teach economic theory.   Issue Briefs on Special Preferences and Special and Differential Treatment have been published to date and an Issue Brief on South-South trade is under development.


Agendas, proceedings, papers and presentations for each Capacity Building seminar are available by clicking on the links below.

Issue Briefs

  • Issue Brief Number One: Revisiting Special Preferences for Developing Countries
    The issue of special preferences is one of the most challenging and controversial political issues confronting trade negotiators in the Doha Development Round.  Special preferences, which provide access for developing countries into developed country markets, usually at high domestic prices, benefit both developing country farmers who grow the crops under preferential schemes and developed country farmers, whose crops are protected by limited access into their markets.  Yet, farmers are beginning to understand that the time to begin to dismantle preferences is approaching.  The economic arguments, coupled with trends in agricultural policy in the United States and Europe, are building a strong case for finding alternatives to special preferences. 

  • Issue Brief Number Two: Beyond Special and Differential Treatment
    The goal of the Doha Development Round is to bring the benefits of more open markets to developing countries, but much of the discussion on the interests of developing countries has been subsumed under the subject of special and differential treatment (S&D) - a structure that was created in the 1960s when the needs and interests of the developing countries were quite different than they are today.  The IPC's Issue Brief, Beyond Special and Differential Treatment, covers S&D in the Uruguay Round and provides suggestions for improving it under the three pillars of agricultural trade in the WTO: market access, export competition and domestic support.