10 Jan 2018

Graduate presents at WTO Ministerial Conference

Rutendo Tavengerwei, a recent graduate of the MILE master’s programme, was invited to speak at a session on trade facilitation during the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December.

The ‘Perspectives on Trade Facilitation’ session was hosted by the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) together with the Ministry of Production of Argentina and other institutions on 13 December.

Rutendo, who graduated in 2017, presented on the topic, ‘Using trade facilitation to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in cross-border e-commerce’.

The thrust of her presentation was that while there are concerns about whether the WTO is still relevant, agreements such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) if implemented will help WTO members to make progress in other contentious areas such as e-commerce and MSME participation in trade.

“Implementation of the TFA can assist small businesses in developing countries to leverage cross border e-commerce. Current provisions of the TFA, including the single window and border agency cooperation, address some of the challenges in cross-border trade such as dissynchronization of border agencies and time wastage caused by the multiplicity of procedures,” she said.

The presentation was based on a concept in Rutendo’s master’s thesis.

She said she was assisted in preparing for her presentation by several WTO faculty members, including Nora Neufeld who taught the MILE course on trade facilitation.

Mohamad Fakhreddin, another graduate of the MILE programme currently studying for a PhD in Hamburg, and a professor from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were the other panellists. A professor from the University of Pennsylvania was the moderator.

The 11th Ministerial Conference was held from 10 to 13 December.

Rutendo's paper will be published in the Georgetown Journal of International Law later this year.