Empowering Pakistan's trade negotiators: Transformative workshop on diplomacy and trade strategies

30 June 2023
Harbour in Pakistan

The Commonwealth Secretariat's Trade Competitiveness Section (TCS) and International Trade Policy Section (ITPS) have recently concluded a highly successful workshop on 'Trade Negotiations and Diplomacy,' aimed at enhancing the negotiating skills of Pakistan's trade officials and strengthening their participation in international trade discussions.

The workshop, held on 12th and 13th June 2023, in collaboration with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and in close consultation with Pakistan's Ministry of Commerce, brought together twenty carefully selected officers -  of which 10 are women – to benefit from the training. Taking place in Bhurban, Pakistan, the workshop provided an ideal setting for immersive learning and knowledge exchange.

Mr Abdouramane Diallo, representing ITFC, emphasized the significance of the workshop in his opening remarks, stating:

"This workshop in Pakistan empowered trade negotiators through comprehensive training, strengthened strategic partnerships with the Commonwealth Secretariat and raised awareness about the ITFC’s leading trade solutions. The two-day programme covered the theory and practice of multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, equipping participants with essential skills and knowledge"

Leading the training was Professor Faizel Ismail, Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, along with Collin Zhuawu, Adviser to the ITPS Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Their expertise and guidance provided participants with invaluable insights into trade negotiation frameworks and techniques.

The workshop agenda included two informative presentations. Ms Tanvi Sinha from the Commonwealth Secretariat Geneva Small States Office delivered a talk on the 'WTO Doha Development Round - Agriculture,' while Mr. Shafiq Shahzad, Trade and Investment Minister at Pakistan High Commission, discussed 'Trade Negotiation Framework - Pakistan's Case.' These presentations expanded participants' knowledge and understanding of ongoing negotiations and Pakistan's specific interests.

Expressing his thoughts on the workshop, Mr Yawar Naeem, Adviser to the TCS Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said:

"The workshop was of paramount importance as it aimed to empower Pakistan's trade officials with enhanced negotiating skills and a deeper understanding of trade negotiations. Through theoretical knowledge, practical exercises, and analysis of case studies, participants gained valuable insights into developing negotiation strategies, ensuring trade agreements serve the public interest, and identifying sector-specific priorities for improvement.

This successful training initiative sets the stage for future endeavours, as the Commonwealth Secretariat looks forward to extending similar training opportunities to trade officials, particularly those representing Commonwealth delegations in Geneva."

Building on the success of this workshop, the Commonwealth Secretariat is committed to providing ongoing training and support to trade officials across the Commonwealth. By equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge, the Secretariat aims to strengthen Pakistan's trade engagement and facilitate positive outcomes in international trade negotiations. 

About Commonwealth Trade work

Media contact

  • Rena Gashumba  Communications Adviser, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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