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Two capacity building workshops on “Regional cooperation and integration” and “Trade facilitation: global agenda and regional priorities”

As a first contribution towards its membership in Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD) co-organized two capacity building workshops in collaboration with ARTNeT, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).

The first workshop focused on “Regional cooperation and integration” and was followed by a second workshop on “Trade facilitation: global agenda and regional priorities”. Approximately 30 participants, including representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the private sector, universities and think tanks, attended the two workshops in Yangon from 9-13 May 2016. The workshops were designed to strengthen the capacity of local researchers so they can support evidence-based policy-making through the provision of high quality analytical inputs.

The training workshops introduced participants to the theories and principles of trade and to the political and economic dimensions of trade agreements, regional integration and trade facilitation. The different lectures contributed to a greater understanding of Myanmar’s position in regional cooperation initiatives and the challenges and benefits from trade. Moreover, participants engaged in group exercises to analyze and discuss major implications for Myanmar, including on how trade strategies and trade facilitation can be important for Myanmar’s future economic and social development. Different perspectives from participants and speakers were also offered on potential policy directions, including ways to improve trade procedures in Myanmar and possible complementary policies to support Myanmar’s trade development.

In his opening remarks, U Soe Win, Deputy Director General of the Department of Trade at the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce, said “In recent years, Myanmar has undertaken many reforms and made quite some progress in its trade policy, but there is still a long way to go to fully catch up. I am therefore grateful to ARTNeT, CESD, RIS and UNESCAP for organizing these two workshops which come at the right time as Myanmar is increasingly exposed to international trade and regional dynamics, and therefore can only benefit from capacity building which will contribute to well-informed policy-making and better business practices.”

Prabir De, Professor at the RIS in New Delhi, India, added “I came to Myanmar for the first time in 2008 and for me it is fascinating to observe how fast the country is changing. However, the world around Myanmar is also changing constantly, not least in the area of international trade. Therefore, one key objective for us as workshop organizers was to familiarize participants with the latest theories and analytical methodologies on international trade, as well as with the most important databases where they can access up-to-date information on trade flows and trade policies, including trade facilitation.”

Ms. Mia Mikic, ARTNeT Coordinator and Chief of the Trade Policy and Analysis Section at UNESCAP, said “The workshops focused not only on the challenges of regional integration but also on how to convert these challenges into opportunities for sustainable development.” She also emphasized that “The ARTNeT secretariat is very pleased with the CESD becoming an institutional member as it will allow us to even more effectively work on developing capacity in trade and trade-related policy areas for Myanmar. It will also improve networking among analysts and policymakers with the region and fasten sharing of best practices and knowledge.”

Thomas Bernhardt, Researcher and Policy Analyst at CESD, concluded that “The important thing now after the workshops is for the participants to also act as multipliers, that is, to share their new knowledge with colleagues and students.”


For any further information or queries, please contact:
Thomas Bernhardt
Researcher and Policy Analyst, CESD
T: +95-1-654 770
M: +95-9 9745 04633


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