The seventh annual Vi study tour for Chinese member universities, held October 10-14, offered 37 students from the University of International Business and Economics, and the Central University of Finance and Economics, a one-week training programme on trade-related topics.
The week comprised18 sessions delivered by UNCTAD experts, and included visits to the International Trade Centre (ITC), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The group also met with country representatives from China’s Permanent Missions to the UN and WTO.
Alfredo Calcagno, of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, was the first presenter to take the floor, with an overview of current events in the world economy based on the findings of the latest Trade and Development Report, which this year focuses on structural transformation.
“There is no growth without development,” he began. “But the current different growth paths are changing the world economic structure.
“Only the East-Asian economies have been able to close the income gap with the leading economies,” he said. “One of the reasons why developing countries remain vulnerable to global financial shocks is that their investment rates are not high enough to support rapid structural transformation.”
The session on foreign direct investment delivered by Kalman Kalotay, of UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise, equipped students with the knowledge needed to successfully participate in the simulation exercise held on the last day of the study tour. Similarly, the presentation on technology and innovation from Michael Lim, of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics, allowed students to apply their new knowledge through a practical exercise.
“During the preparation of our own case for the simulation exercise on FDI, there was an actual feeling that we were the real ministry of finance trying to figure out all the cost and benefits, as well as what was best for our own country,” said one of the students
Also of note was the session delivered by Robert Hamwey, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, who engaged the students in an active discussion highlighting important developments in China toward combating climate change.
During the visit to ITC, students participated in hands-on training sessions on various market analysis tools. At the WTO, the focus was on WTO law and practice, and the sixth Trade Policy Review detailing the structural economic reform currently taking place in China. At WIPO, students participated in four sessions related to intellectual property.
“The sessions with the specialists in international trade, intellectual property and other topics related to trade was a really fascinating and unforgettable experience. It really broadened my horizons,” a student said.
The meeting with national representatives from the UN and WTO missions focused on the current state of China’s negotiations in Geneva.
“I learned about inclusiveness, negotiation and devotion,” said one student. “Negotiation takes more time than I imagined and is not really easy. It takes the devotion of outstanding people doing their job with diligence. It was really inspiring.”