New Advisory Toolkit series from the Trade Advocacy Fund

New Advisory Toolkit series from the Trade Advocacy Fund   

Specialist support is just a click away with this new series of practical reference guides on key topics in regional and international trade negotiations. Free to download, and available in English or French, each publication focuses on a specific area and is written by an international expert in that field. The toolkits are designed for use by trade policy makers and negotiators in developing countries and in Regional Economic Communities.

TAF Advisory Toolkit 1 – Communications Strategies for Trade Negotiations: A Practical Guide  

Communications is an essential tool for increasing stakeholder and public understanding and acceptance of trade priorities, and to achieve a more effective role for your government or organisation in international trade negotiations.  This guide to communications planning for non-specialists offers a range of options that can be adapted to different country contexts. It provides a step-by-step guide to developing a communications strategy and action plan, including:

• Who needs to be informed and consulted

• How to plan successful internal communications

• Managing communications with external interests

• Finding the most effective and economical ways of communicating for your organisation

• When to manage communications in-house

• When and how to contract out communications work to professionals.

The toolkit includes a set of downloadable templates for quick and easy planning. 

Download in English or French at


TAF Advisory Toolkit 2 – A Practical Guide to Product Standards and International Negotiations

Product and health standards are one of the most important issues in international trade, because they govern the quality and performance of most of the manufactured products which people buy. Increasingly, products cannot be sold in national markets unless they meet accepted standards, and that applies both to domestically produced goods and to imports.

Some standards are set by governments and compliance with them is compulsory by law. Increasingly however they are set by private sector bodies like individual industry associations or national standards institutes (such as the British Standards Institution) with government recognition and support. In many cases they are now set by competent international bodies and are then adopted and implemented on a voluntary basis by industries and/or governments in subscribing countries. This permits transparency and consistency in the international enforcement of standards, and removes many potential obstacles to trade.

This Toolkit explains in plain language the nature and purpose of product and health standards (such as those governing the safety of electrical goods, vehicles or medicines, and in some cases the process by which goods are produced). It follows product and health standards through the various stages of setting and implementation. It discusses the issues and considerations that arise at those various stages and the impact of standards on international trade. It lists a series of “Takeaway” points for governments to bear in mind when negotiating on trade- and standards-related matters.

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TAF Advisory Toolkit 3 – Rules of Origin in International Trade

Rules of origin are one of the most complex but at the same time essential issues in international trade. They specify the techniques and procedures by which individual countries and regional economic communities define the national origin of goods which they export or import. “Non-preferential” rules are applied by countries to the generality of their international trade in manufactured products, and are important for the application of trade measures that are permitted in some cases by the World Trade Organisation such as anti-dumping duties or quota restrictions on imports. “Preferential” rules are designed to ensure that the benefits of preferential trade arrangements such as tariff-free imports are restricted to products that originate in the intended beneficiary countries.

To date it has not been possible to negotiate a single multilateral framework or discipline for the definition and operation of rules of origin. Exporting countries may be faced with different rules operating in different markets for the same products.

On the basis of concrete examples and in clear language the Toolkit explains the history, nature and operation of rules of origin, the different impact of non-preferential and preferential rules, the varying impacts of different rule systems, and the importance for exporting countries of understanding the rules that apply in their target markets. It gives valuable guidance on the principles underlying rules of origin, and on points to keep in mind in international negotiations that relate to rules of origin. In particular it stresses the importance of basing rules on the realities of manufacturing processes and of taking into account present-day global value chains.

Download in English or French at