From 14 to 18 May 2018, the Vi organized a series of six presentations for 17 students of the Master's programme in International Trade Policy of Vi core member, the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Presentations were delivered by experts representing all UNCTAD divisions, covering a very wide range of topics such as “FDI trends and impact on development”; “Trade Facilitation Agreement and UNCTAD’s work o the Caribbean”; “Post-2015 development agenda”; “Climate change and development”; “Competition policy: UNCTAD and the CARICOM region”; and “Structural transformation for inclusive and sustained growth.”
The discussions with the students were very interesting, and UNCTAD experts were hard-pressed to provide answers. For example, on the topic of structural transformation, students wanted to know which policy measures could be used to upgrade the position of local firms within the global value chains. While in theory the range of policies to achieve that should be more or less the same in all developing countries, in practice smaller countries have a much-reduced range of options. This reduced “policy space” is one of the biggest obstacles for “copying” the kinds of policies adopted by successful countries like China. A suggested way out is regional cooperation. Developing regional value chains could result in a faster upgrading of local firms and could be a stepping stone for these firms before they enter the competition at the global level.
The students not only enjoyed the presentations and discussions, but also contacted UNCTAD experts in order to receive comments on their topics for research. In addition, they benefited during their stay from other activities organized by the CARICOM Group Coordinator in Geneva.