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First Omani accepted into prestigious WTO programme

23 Jun 2024 First Omani accepted into prestigious WTO programme By M NAJMUZ ZAFAR

Muscat – In a remarkable achievement in the field of international trade and development, an Omani student has been accepted in the prestigious World Trade Organization (WTO) Accessions Internship Programme. The feat is significant as Muhanna al Lawati is the first Omani to qualify for the internship.

The programme is aimed at  development of young professionals from developing and least-developed countries in the field of international trade.

Currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Geneva Graduate Institute, Switzerland – researching state-building in the Gulf region – Lawati’s interest in the internship was driven by a desire to understand firsthand the processes involved in a nation’s accession to the WTO. 

“This programme offers a direct avenue to study how countries like Oman navigated the accession process before its membership in 2000 and aligned their trade practices with WTO rules and standards,” Lawati told Muscat Daily.

Despite Oman’s successful accession journey, the Arab world remains one of the most underrepresented regions within the WTO framework. “Given the region’s unique challenges and opportunities, I hope to leverage my knowledge and expertise of the Arab region to meaningfully contribute to enhancing Arab representation and participation within the WTO,” Lawati said.

As the work done in the context of WTO accessions has a direct impact on global trade and economic development, interns contributing to this process are part of efforts to promote fair and equitable trade practices worldwide, making a tangible difference in how countries engage with each other economically.

“For individuals from regions underrepresented in international trade discussions, such as the Arab world, the internship is a platform to bring unique perspectives and advocate the interests and challenges of their regions.” 

Lawati said his goal is to contribute to shaping Oman’s trade policies and negotiations in a way that aligns with the sultanate’s national development goals and promote its economic interests on the international stage. “Additionally, I aspire to contribute to regional efforts that enhance economic integration and cooperation within the Arab world.”

For those interested in working with international organisations like WTO, Lawati advised them to stay informed on global economic trends, trade policies and geopolitical developments. “Invest in yourselves. This could mean pursuing volunteer opportunities, undertaking language classes, or attending relevant conferences and events.”

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