CUTS, a Jaipur-based non-governmental think-tank on trade and regulatory issues, is organising a training programme in Jaipur from 18 to 21 August on “Strengthening Skills on Commercial and Economic Diplomacy” for middle-level Indian government officials and business executives. It is supported by the Department of Commerce, Government of India. It seeks to fill the vacuum that exists in terms of an absence of institutional base on commercial and economic diplomacy.
It will be inaugurated by Shri S. K. Singh, Hon’ble Governor of Rajasthan. The participants will be imparted with skills on commercial and economic diplomacy through lectures, simulation exercises, group discussions, etc by a number of distinguished experts: B. K. Zutshi, a former Indian Ambassador to the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which was the predecessor of the World Trade Organisation); Kishan S. Rana, Senior Fellow, DiploFoundation and a former Indian Ambassador to Germany; S. N. Menon, Former Commerce Secretary of India; Raymond Saner, Professor, Organisation and International Management, University of Basle, Switzerland; and Siddhartha Mitra, Director (Research) of CUTS.
The programme will cover various aspects of commercial and economic diplomacy such as opportunities and challenges of India in the global economy in 2020, trade promotion activities – a field perspective, a practical approach to negotiations, India and the multilateral trading system – from Uruguay Round to Doha Round and simulation exercise on trade and investment negotiations.
It was felt that developing country representatives often do not perform at the same level of efficiency and effectiveness as their counterparts from developed countries in the application of various tools of commercial and economic diplomacy. Among others, one important reason for this is relative inadequacy of education and training in various aspects of commercial and economic diplomacy. Hence, such training programmes are very important in imparting government officials with the requisite knowledge and skills for direct or indirect involvement in various aspects of commercial and economic diplomacy.
According to Ambassador Zutshi, earlier commercial and economic diplomacy has been largely limited to negotiations on import tariffs and quotas. However, trade negotiations now encompass a number of areas on which national and international regulations, instructions and actions have an impact. In this era of instant communication, diplomacy – whether commercial or economic or political – is even more challenging. One cannot wash globalisation away. Today it implies even greater international involvement, which in turn calls for the development of requisite skills among those involved in such international engagement. Informed participation by all stakeholders in the national preparatory process is equally important. This is precisely why programmes like this have assumed a greater importance.
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