A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


Fifty-eight academics and trade practitioners from 39 countries successfully completed the second edition of the Virtual Institute online course on non-tariff measures (NTMs) and data collection held June 1 to July 19.
“This is my first online course and I must say that I am greatly impressed,” said Tiglun Manaye Mandefro, of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade. “The course preparation, coordination and delivery were just flawless!”
Conducted in cooperation with the Trade Information Section of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the course received 237 applications, from which 85 participants from 54 countries, including 15 LDCs, were selected.
All participants said that their understanding of NTMs has increased as a result of the course, and 96 percent stated that the course helped them better understand policy issues faced by their countries in international trade.
“This course helped me enormously to enhance my knowledge on NTMs, and I became very enthusiastic to do some new research on this,” said Khaleda Akhter, of Vi think tank member, the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh.
The 28 non-academic graduates -- trade practitioners from government, private sector and international organizations – said the course prepared them to collect, classify and analyze NTMs in their country.
“As an NTM desk officer I knew the basics about NTMs but participating in this course I have gained extra knowledge about NTMs which will be valuable while monitoring NTMs in my country,” said Tshering Lhaden, of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
“At the ministry, I will use the course knowledge for analysis of trade negotiations and also for analysis of possible opportunities for international cooperation,” said Ryan Cobey, of Ecuador’s Ministry of International Trade. Also a lecturer at University of the Americas, he added that he will use his new skills in the implementation of a module on NTMs in his economy of international relations class and in writing a possible paper on the impact of NTMs on trade relations of Ecuador. 
Like Cobey, graduates from academia said they intend to use their new knowledge in their future teaching and research activities. Such projects included the use of course knowledge in teaching courses on international economics, trade facilitation, international trade, multilateral trade regulation, and marketing. 
Researchers also put forward ideas for new papers covering NTM-related issues in Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Tunisia, Latin America and BRICS, as well as in the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
“I am a university teacher in marketing and trade, and am currently writing a paper on ‘Market potential of Chinese fruit in the EU market’, for which the course enlightened me on collecting NTM data,” said Xiaofeng Zhao, of China’s Northwest A&F University. “I would also like to use some of the course materials in my course on International Agricultural Trade."
“So far I have never tackled the issue of NTMs in such detail. Now I can give a series of lectures or classes on this issue to any level of university students,” said Uzbek lecturer, Bobomurod Muminov, currently teaching at Hungary’s Central European University. “Besides, the skills I have gained during the course in relation to detection and application of NTMs in practice will facilitate my research activities. ”