At the Worldaware Business Awards 2004 ceremony held at the Royal Society in London yesterday, Baker & McKenzie received ‘The Department of Trade and Industry Award for Capacity Building in the Developing World’. The award is given to an organisation for its role in enhancing the ability of a developing country to participate in international trade negotiations. The award recognises the work of Baker & McKenzie’s Technical Legal Assistance (TLA) Programme, through which the Firm’s International Trade & WTO Practice Group provides advice, at reduced fees, to developing countries.
Under the TLA Programme, the International Trade & WTO Practice Group has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Business Council to study the international potential of Barbados as it looks to opportunities beyond its tourism and financial services industries. The Group has also provided training to government officials in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in the negotiation of free trade agreements and the implications of membership in the WTO. The TLA Programme has also seen Baker & McKenzie appointed as legal advisor to the ‘Support for Trade Adjustment and Reform’ (STAR) project, a USAID funded project to help Vietnam implement a US-Vietnamese trade agreement and meet the requirements for joining the WTO.
Worldaware is a UK based charity which, for more than 30 years, has worked to promote understanding of global development issues. The Worldaware Business Awards, now in their 15th year, recognise the contribution of the private business sector, through innovative and sustainable commercial activities, to the development of poorer countries.
Commenting on the awards, Dr DeAnne Julius, Chairman of the Judging Panel, said, “The Worldaware Business Awards reward those who encourage useful business activity and contribution to local communities. Things can change, even if slowly and on a small scale.”
Accepting the award on behalf of the Firm, Ross Denton, head of the International Trade & WTO Practice Group, said, “We are delighted that the Technical Legal Assistance Programme and the work of our WTO practice group has been recognised in this way. We believe that it is in the interest of all economic players, and the international trading system as a whole, to enable developing countries to participate effectively in shaping and utilising the system to their benefit. The Technical Legal Assistance Programme, established in 2000, is a tangible example of Baker & McKenzie’s commitment to supporting the wider community – we are proud that the Programme has been so well received and we look forward to expanding it to include other developing countries in the future.”