Belarusian WTO Inter-Agency Commission took a study course on negotiation strategies at the University of Barcelona, Spain.

On 16-18 July 2018, a specialized training course was conducted to improve competence of the members of the Inter-Agency Commission on Belarus’ accession to the WTO, directly involved in the negotiation process, at the University of Barcelona (Kingdom of Spain).

According to Maksim Hubski, manager of the project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise”, 10 members of the national negotiating team on the WTO took part in the training course “Trade Negotiations Strategywithin the framework of the project. These are representatives of 5 Belarusian ministries: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Maksim Hubski noted that Prof. Robert A. Rogowsky, a recognized world expert in trade negotiations, had developed the course for the national negotiating team. Prof. Rogowsky served as Director of Operations for the U.S. International Trade Commission around 20 years. He was responsible for antidumping and countervailing duty investigations; research, technical expertise and trade policy assistance provided to the U.S. Trade Representative and Congress; and maintenance of the Harmonized Tariff System. Dr. Rogowsky is currently the President of the Institute for Trade & Commercial Diplomacy (USA) and Professor at four universities: Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey (USD), Georgetown University (USA), University of International Business and Economics (China), University of Barcelona (Spain).

The participants of the course shared their impressions.

Anna Sandul, Head of International Cooperation Unit, the Department of Veterinary and Food Supervision, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Ph.D., Associate Professor:

“During the training course together with Professor Robert Rogowsky we dived into the science of the trade negotiations strategies including the application of veterinary and sanitary measures.

The professor singled out and stressed, out of a huge complex of tools and skills necessary for the negotiator, the importance of careful preparation to the negotiation process and in particular comprehensive knowledge of the counterparty’s and national legislation, and in our case - the EAEU legislation too. He designated careful preparation as "first degree protection" from unexpected requests of the counterparty and, accordingly, the adoption of spontaneous, emotional decisions in the course of the dialogue, and also as a tool to take the leading role in the negotiations and build a relationship with the negotiating partner without unnecessary losses. It will help to be aware of the counterparty’s potential requests and be prepared to answer with strong justification and be a leader in dialogue, building relationship without excessive losses for one’s party. At the same time, the professor drew attention to the need to take into account the gender, cultural, religious and other characteristics of the counterparty. Stressed the importance of improving the negotiator's personal qualities such as self-control, the ability to engage in constructive dialogue and understand the partner.

The course was a short but very efficient acquaintance with the huge consistent system of skills and techniques of successful negotiator”.

Katerina Shatokhina, Senior Advisor, Foreign Trade Regulation Unit, Foreign Trade Policy Division, Foreign Economic Activity Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus:

“Professor R. Rogowsky’s course is distinct in its being focused and practice-oriented. The course provided a unique opportunity not only to understand the decision-making system and the work of individual bodies, in particular in the United States, but also to obtain valuable recommendations on the strategy and tactics of trade negotiations in order to achieve the most positive effect.

Particular attention was paid to the preparations for the negotiations, namely: the development of strategy and tactics, the identification of key positions and specific goals, analyzing the levers of influence on partners, and identifying strengths and weaknesses, both in one's own position and in the position of the negotiating partner, the search for mutual compromises.

Each stage of the negotiations was analyzed, and case examples were used to clarify useful instruments for positive results in negotiations, including the cases of initial economic and political disparity between the parties.

The importance of correct assessment and proper use of the behavioral and cultural features of the negotiating partners to develop negotiations strategy was noted.

Given the rich experience of Prof. R. Rogowski in the field of trade negotiations, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of theoretical and practical knowledge obtained during the course."

Ten members of the national negotiating team on the WTO took part in the training course.

Oksana Konstantinovich, Head of the Department for International Cooperation and Application of Non-Tariff Regulation Measures, Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus:

“I am extremely grateful to the UNDP project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus and the University of Barcelona for the opportunity to take part in the training course "Trade Negotiations Strategy."

I consider it a great success to involve as a lecturer Prof. Robert Rogowsky, who shared his vast knowledge and experience in conducting international negotiations. The training was very informative and useful, as it combined the theoretical and practical aspects of negotiating.

Among the main theses expressed during the training, I would like to highlight the following.

Negotiation skills are necessary for not only politicians, diplomats or businesspersons. It is crucial for a person to succeed. Every person in his/her daily life, whatever he/she does, wherever he/she works, faces the need to negotiate.

The more correctly the negotiations strategy is designed, the priorities are set, the goals and objectives of the negotiations are determined, the more successfully the negotiations will be held.

Learning about the opponent is one of the important factors of the negotiation strategy. It is necessary to know with whom you will be negotiating, what kind of person he/she is, find out his/her goals and interests. The more information about the opponent, the better it can be used to negotiate successfully.

The best negotiations strategy is to turn your opponent to your side so that he himself makes the right decision.

I hope that I will be able to apply acquired knowledge in my work.”

Maksim Yermalovich, First Deputy Minister of Finance of the Republic of Belarus:

“Participation in the course "Trade Negotiations Strategy" gave an overall impression of the stages and methods of negotiation, their peculiarities in international relations.

A negotiator’s professionalism is of paramount importance. The knowledge and skills gained during the training conducted by the leading specialist in this field Dr. Robert Rogowsky will improve the preparedness of the specialists of the relevant state bodies for negotiations with representatives of the WTO member countries.

Of particular value to me is the acquired in the course of the training knowledge on the mechanism for the formation of the negotiating position of the US Trade Representative, the process of its elaboration and harmonization, the degree of involvement in this process of the legislative and executive bodies of the United States, local authorities and professional communities. Taking into account the lecturer's personal experience in the US Government he managed to give a clear idea of the inner workings of the American authorities, helped to understand the motives of the decisions made.

It was also important to understand individual, national, gender and other factors that influence the negotiation process.

I consider the acquired knowledge to be useful and I will continue to improve my negotiation skills in the areas indicated in the course of coaching."

Anastasiya Bichun, Head of Unit of Integration Development Directorate-General for Economic Integration Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus:

“In the context of increasing globalization and growing international integration it becomes more difficult to compete on global markets. At present Belarus is using various ways to penetrate new markets with a view to gain new niches on the international trade arena. In such circumstances, understanding the art of negotiations, especially on trade issues, is of particular significance, because to date the stakes are extremely high.

The training course on trade negotiations strategy provided an opportunity for Belarusian team of negotiators to examine the most significant issues of trade negotiations as well as to “synchronize their watches” on negotiation strategy in accession of Belarus to the WTO. Special thanks have to be given to the speaker of the seminar Prof. Robert Rogowsky for his readiness to share his wide experience and excellent job.”

A specialized training course has been held within the framework of the fifth phase of the project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise”. The project is funded by the Government of the Russian Federation and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

 

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