EVENT REPORT- January 2008

"Strengthening Skills on Commercial & Economic Diplomacy”
for Senior Level Civil Servants and Executives  (CDS.04)

January 09–11, 2008, Jaipur, India

CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition (CIRC) successfully organised a 3-day training programme on “Strengthening Skills on Commercial & Economic Diplomacy” in Jaipur on January 09-11, 2008. This training programme was a part of the three-year capacity building project on Commercial & Economic Diplomacy supported by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. Participants were from various ministries namely, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. There was also representation from governments of Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.

In the training sessions, G K Pillai, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry; Kishan Rana, Former Ambassador of India and Course Director, CIRC and BK Zutshi, Former Indian Ambassador to GATT; and Geza Feketkuty, Former US Negotiator on Services in Uruguay Round deliberated upon various aspects of effective commercial and economic diplomacy, including negotiations and dispute settlements in trade and investment agreements.

The objective of the training programme was to ensure coherence between India’s domestic policy on trade and investment issues with international commitments and to enhance skills by developing/strengthening capacity of officials for trade and investment negotiations.

This training programme witnessed active participation of the resource persons as well as participants. Various sessions were conducted in a manner whereby the participants got the opportunity to avail the benefits from advanced level knowledge imparted by the experts. The participants’ expectations from the training programme were: to get familiar with skills in commercial and economic diplomacy; to know about do’s and don’ts while negotiating; and to understand the conceptual framework and historical perspective of contemporary issues and the modalities of bilateral and multi-lateral negotiations.

The participants appreciated CIRC for conducting the training programme on an issue on which there has been a long felt need. They found the course useful, educative and informative. “It was quiet a learning experience with such seasoned resource persons”, said Sanjeev Kaushal, Joint Secretary and Additional Development Commissioner, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. According to Yogendra Kumar, Senior Directing Staff (Foreign Service), National Defence College, Ministry of External Affairs, “The training programme was practical and thematic and simulation exercises were good”. It was observed that the participants enjoyed the hands on exercises on simulations.

Towards the close, suggestions were invited for making the future training programmes better. There were suggestions of having varied participation such as from Export Promotion Councils, state representatives and business chambers. Also, it was suggested that course structure should include sessions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), India specific case studies, Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), issues on environment negotiations and the WTO.