Lookahead to the IOE and IT's WTO activities next week

Fri 8 Sept 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
Trade News

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Next week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) hosts its 23rd Public Forum (PF23), the once-a-year get together where it throws open the doors of its Geneva HQ to the world and seeks to engage the wider public in its work promoting and protecting international free trade.

As in previous years, the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) will be in Geneva to celebrate the event and take part in various events and panel discussions.

This year, IOE&IT is partnering with the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the WTO and the Organisation of Women in International Trade, UK (OWIT UK) to promote sustainable green practices in trade led by indigenous women. This includes facilitating the participation of representatives from the Asociación de Mujeres Waorani de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (AMWAE) to take part in PF23. 

Key event

One key event, starting at 9am CET on 14th September, will be a panel discussion under the heading “Sustainable Trade: Indigenous Women’s Green Influence”.

It features representatives from the Waorani people of the Amazonian Ecuador and the Māori people of New Zealand sharing stories of sustainable actions in their regions. The aim is to encourage similar efforts in other parts of the world and ultimately make international trade greener.

As Hunter Matson, trade research and policy specialist at the IOE&IT, explains, the panel also features representatives from the wider trade community,

“The panel will feature representatives from OWIT UK and IOE&IT, for example, to allow us to explore how business support organizations, governments and officials can get involved and the role they can play in supporting the growth of these indigenous sustainable businesses.

“Building on the Institute’s programme last year centred around supporting women in trade, this year’s programme adds the voice of indigenous women to the conversation. Given the close connection they have with the land and their local communities, the experiences of these two indigenous women will provide valuable insight into one of this year’s subthemes - inclusive policies for the advancement of green trade.  

There will also be an AMWAE exhibition stand located in the WTO Atrium. The stand will allow the opportunity to network with PF23 attendees, share stories of the AMWAE and the Waorani people, and explore opportunities to enter new markets and connect with potential buyers. The stand will be open on 14th September, from 12:30-17:00 CET.


As it’s hard to separate Switzerland from chocolate, and as Ecuador is a major cocoa producer, later the same day (from 17:30-18:30 CET), there will also be a chocolate tasting and a handicraft demonstration.

The tasting will spotlight AMWAE as an organisation by and for indigenous women in trade, showcasing its sustainable production and products. Attendees will get to taste Wao chocolate and watch as an AMWAE representative assembles one of its signature handicraft pieces. The stories of AMWAE and the Waorani people will be shared throughout the demonstration.

In partnership with the WTO MSME Group, IOE&IT will also have a stand at PF23 and will be drawing attention to the work of the MSME WTO Group and its outputs to support MSMEs, particularly the Trade4MSMEs website and The Trade Game. Stop by the stand or visit the social media hub to play The Trade Game and try your hand at exporting