UN-ESCWA collaborated with the United Nations Development Porgramme (UNDP) Office in Damascus and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the organization of a workshop entitled "Towards Harmonization Between Syrian Domestic Laws and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Rules and Regulations" from 19 to 20 March 2007.
The workshop came within the context of a work programme for the period 2006-2007 on Syria's preparation for the requirements of globalization and the WTO accession negotiations. UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD are implementing this programme in cooperation with the UNDP Office in Damascus. It includes reviewing the draft laws of investment, companies, protection of local production, competition, and monopoly. Several training workshops were held on the WTO accession procedures and negotiations, the means of formulating a trade policy memorandum for Syria, trade in services, facing subsidy and dumping, and other topics related to the economic reform plan in Syria.
The workshop aimed to discuss a number of economic laws and draft laws including the new investment law and its relation to the legal framework of international investment. Another aim was to review the draft law on competition and anti-monopoly as well as other Syrian legislations that were recently issued and their coherence with WTO agreements.
Participants in the workshop included Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah Al-Dardari, Minister of Economy and Trade Amer Husni Lutfi, UNDP Resident Representative Ali Al-Zaatari, and a number of senior officials from different ministries and important economic sectors in Syria. Al-Dardari discussed with the experts various ideas and suggestions related to building self capacities in order to deal with the challenging issues of world trade, and available opportunities from the WTO agreements. The experts also discussed the preparation of a new project for building Syrian capacities within the framework of the economic reform programme and the regional multilateral trade agreements, to be implemented during the period 2007-2008 in cooperation with UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD.
UN-ESCWA was represented by Mr. Mohsen Helal, Regional Advisor for WTO Issues, who presented two papers on "Harmonizing the New Law of Investment in Syria with WTO Agreements" and "Draft Laws on Competition and Protection of Local Production and their Coherence to the WTO Accession Negotiations".