The Department of Trade and Industry’s Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) in line with World Trade Organization Technical Assistance and Capacity Building (WTO-TACB) program hones Philippine officials’ trade negotiations skills through a week-long course on trade negotiations entitled “Trade Negotiations Simulation Skills” (TNSS) last June 6-10 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Pasay City. 
Participated in by various government officials involved in different trade negotiations, the TNSS was one of the initiatives of Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Geneva, Switzerland which aims to capacitate Philippine representatives when it comes to trade negotiations and dialogues.
“The importance of enhancing the skills and techniques of our negotiators cannot be overemphasized. We have recently concluded the Philippines – European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (PH-EFTA FTA) and we are currently negotiating new FTAs namely the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Philippine-European Union (PH-EU FTA). To effectively carry out our negotiating mandate, we need competent individuals with requisite skills in different areas,” said DTI Industry Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.
The Philippines is one of the original members of the WTO since its inception in 1995. WTO plays an important role in the global trading system, hence, the TNSS course is both relevant and timely as it aims to improve, deepen and enhance the participants’ understanding of negotiations. 
“The course will encompass all the stages in trade negotiations – from consultation stage to actual negotiations, involving real give-and-take, and includes theoretical comprehension, enhancement of skills and techniques, simulations, case studies and use of data extracted from existing databases,” emphasized Dr. Dickson Yeboah, World Trade Organization representative who served as the resource speaker of the said event. Yeboah is currently responsible for WTO’s inter alia, the conduct of intensive courses on trade negotiations skills in WTO member countries.
The 54 participants from various organizations were divided into 6 teams comprised of a minister and several chief negotiators. Special Trade Representatives of various FTSC posts played the role of a minister while technical experts of key DTI units and line agencies served as chief negotiators. The teams “negotiated” markets access and modalities under goods, agriculture, services and rules. 
“Participants have an important task of taking advantage of the resource made available to them: to interact, to ask and to absorb the knowledge of our resource speaker. I am certain that each one of you will also learn from each other as we have a good mix of both experienced and new negotiators,” Undersecretary Terrado added. 

Department of Trade and Industry’s Foreign Trade Service Corps Assistant Secretary Ma. Roseni M. Alvero (left) with Professor Dickson Yeboah (right) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the closing ceremonies of the TNSS held in Philippine Trade Training Center, Pasay City last June 10, 2016.