> Pascal Lamy’s speeches
Let me start by thanking the Government of
Jamaica, and Prime Minister Golding, for hosting this Second Regional
Review of Aid for Trade for Latin America and the Caribbean.
I would also like to thank President Moreno and his team at the
Inter-American Development Bank — our partners in this event — for the
considerable efforts they have made to make this regional review
I also wish to acknowledge the presence of other heads of government,
ministers and other high-level representatives from national, regional
and multilateral organizations, and thank them for joining us in this
Two years ago, we gathered in Lima, Peru for the First Latin American
and Caribbean Regional Review of Aid for Trade. Strengthening
competitiveness and “connecting” more effectively with global markets
were the common aspirations of the countries in the region, most of
which are highly trade-dependent.
In Lima, I was impressed by the importance countries in the region give
to trade, investment and global integration as a means of creating new
opportunities for growth, and poverty reduction. Key priorities for the
future were identified at this first LAC review, including, for example,
the need for national and regional trade-related infrastructure,
expanding the scope of initiatives on trade finance, strengthening trade
facilitation, increasing private-sector capacity, and promoting export
diversification. Our meeting over the next two days will provide us with
the opportunity to assess progress in these areas since then.
At the First Global Aid for Trade Review held in Geneva in 2007, we
agreed on a benchmark for measuring progress. We agreed to take the
2002-2005 average, identified by the OECD, as a starting point so as to
have a better global picture of Aid for Trade flows. This would allow us
to identify whether additional resources were in fact being delivered,
where gaps existed, and to highlight where improvements could be made to
increase transparency on pledges and disbursements. By 2007, total Aid
for Trade flows had increased by about 20 per cent from this benchmark.
Both our hope and endeavour are that, despite the economic crisis, the
Aid for Trade flows should continue this upward trend.
But we have to move from this macro-level monitoring to more national,
regional, and sub-regional level assessments of aid flows. It is for
this reason that national, sub-regional and regional reviews are an
essential part of the Aid for Trade monitoring process, and the
Inter-American Development Bank has been doing exemplary work in this
A National Aid for Trade Review was held in Peru on 3 March 2009 where
discussions focused on the global economic integration strategy of Peru,
with its associated challenges and opportunities. This meeting is an
excellent example of how we can move from commitment to implementation.
A national Aid for Trade review structured along the same lines was held
in Honduras at the beginning of this week and I look forward to
receiving a full report on the outcome.
The current economic crisis is, of course, of major concern to us all.
Trade is also a casualty of this crisis. Our forecast shows that world
trade will contract by 9 per cent this year. Both the World Bank and
OECD estimate that world economic growth will decline this year by close
to 3 per cent. Foreign direct investment, revenues from tourism, and
remittances are also dropping, as are commodity prices. All these, I
know, are of serious concern to your region.
The WTO has started monitoring trade-related measures taken by our
members during this crisis, as a means to provide transparency and,
through peer pressure, pre-empt the threat posed by a shift towards
protectionism. One country's imports are another country's exports. And
we know that protectionism would lead to retaliation, further stalling
trade as an engine of growth. It is therefore important that we work to
keep trade open.
The current crisis is having a disproportionate impact on the most
vulnerable countries. It is therefore welcome that G20 leaders recently
undertook to mitigate the impact of this fallout by ensuring liquidity
in the world economy, and also standing by their ODA pledges, including
on Aid for Trade. In addition, they pledged to boost trade finance by
making available $250 billion over the next two years through different
channels. In the Latin American and Caribbean region, I commend the
efforts made by President Moreno to tackle the trade finance crisis by
boosting the IADB's Trade Finance Facilitation Programme (TFFP) from
$400 million to a maximum of $1 billion. Trade finance is the oil that
keeps the wheels of trade turning, so it is essential to ensure it does
not dry up!
But we also need to work to keep on opening trade. Seven years have
passed since we launched the Doha Round negotiations and much progress
has been achieved in building consensus on the different topics on the
Given the importance of trade for this region, it is no surprise that
many initiatives in these talks emanated from here. Caribbean countries
have been instrumental in ensuring that the specificities of small and
vulnerable economies are recognised not only in the negotiations but in
the wider work of the WTO. You have your special place in the WTO house!
Countries in Central and Latin America have been advocates of greater
trade opening for tropical products. Many countries in this region were
founding members of the G-20, whose agriculture proposals helped build
bridges during the negotiations. In sum, there is a trade activist crowd
in this part of the world!
It is therefore in times of crisis, such as now, that completing the
negotiations under the Doha Development Round becomes more necessary.
The Doha Round is our lowest hanging global stimulus package. Not only
because of the new market opportunities that it will create in goods and
services, but also because it will provide a stronger insurance policy
against protectionism. We must, therefore, go the last mile to the
The key objective at this juncture is to keep trade open, keep opening
trade and make trade flow.
During the next two days, we will also be discussing the promotion of
specific private sector strategies, coordination amongst donors, and
South-South cooperation in the context of Aid for Trade. This is an
opportunity to see where progress has been made, to share good
practices, and to better prepare for the challenges ahead.
For the Latin American and Caribbean region as a whole, Aid for Trade
has followed an upward path, growing by 34 per cent, from $1.6 billion
in 2002-2005 to $2.2 billion in 2007. An interesting feature in the
Latin American and Caribbean region is the development of South-South
cooperation as well as triangular cooperation.
I acknowledge, and strongly support, efforts made by Argentina, Brazil,
Chile and Mexico in providing extensive technical assistance and
capacity- building support in the region.
But challenges remain — both between your countries and within them. For
example, a majority of countries in this region are dependent on a
narrow range of export products and a narrow range of export markets,
thereby increasing your vulnerabilities to external shocks. The
challenge therefore is to diversify your export base and also to enhance
trade flows within the region. We have to address these challenges and
build a targeted and more focused approach to Aid for Trade in the
While the importance of additional, predictable, sustainable and
effective funding cannot be over-emphasized, the issue of aid
effectiveness is equally important and should not be ignored. A big
challenge that the development community faces in relation to Aid for
Trade is to demonstrate its effectiveness. More robust research is
needed on the impact and effectiveness of Aid-for-Trade programmes
through better monitoring and evaluation.
On our part, we are, with the help of the OECD, monitoring Aid for Trade
at four levels:
At the global level, an analysis of Aid for
Trade flows is under way to assess where resources are being delivered,
to identify where gaps lie, to highlight where improvements should be
made, and to increase transparency on pledges and disbursements;
At the national, regional and multilateral
levels to assess donors' Aid for Trade activities, based on donors'
self-assessments, to ensure the dissemination of best practices across
countries, to identify areas for improvement, and to increase
transparency on pledges and commitments;
At the country level, based on recipient
self-assessments, to provide a more focused, country-specific
perspective on whether trade is being mainstreamed into national
development policy, whether trade needs are being met, and financial
resources are being provided, and whether Aid for Trade is effective on
the ground; and
Through the use of indicators to track the use
and effectiveness of Aid for Trade, in particular against priority areas
identified by recipients in their self-assessment questionnaires.
As part of this monitoring and evaluation
exercise, a questionnaire was jointly sent out by the OECD/WTO to assess
national Aid for Trade policies. The response to this questionnaire has
been very encouraging and we will use this information to prepare fact
sheets for each country that has replied.
We hope the fact sheets will serve as an initial and useful tool to
stimulate an objective national dialogue between stakeholders on how to
bring about more and better Aid for Trade and how to bridge the gap
between demand and response.
This Regional Review will help us find concrete solutions to these
challenges. Cooperation, coordination and coherence are key issues in
implementing Aid for Trade projects. We need to think in terms of
As I have noted earlier, the Second Global Aid for Trade Review will be
held at the WTO in Geneva on 6 and 7 July 2009. The Review will evaluate
progress made since the First Review in 2007 and scrutinize how Aid for
Trade is being operationalized on the ground. Progress in securing
additional financing will be discussed and views exchanged on how aid
flows can be maintained against this backdrop of a worsening global
We will, of course, feed the results of the Latin American and Caribbean
Review into the debate, and I hope we will be able to share with other
participants concrete results of this two-day meeting.
In conclusion, let me just leave you with the following key messages:
We need to work together to keep trade open by
We also need to keep opening trade by rapidly
concluding the Doha Round.
We need to ensure Aid for Trade promises are
kept, despite the crisis. In fact, Aid for Trade will help developing
countries prepare for after the crisis. By building their productive
capacity, they will unlock their growth potential and this will help
them take advantage of existing and new trade opportunities.
We need to keep fostering South-South
cooperation on Aid for Trade.
This high-level meeting should provide a
strong impetus to move from commitment to action in the Latin American
and Caribbean countries. Let’s seize this opportunity to work together
to effectively use trade as an engine for economic growth in the region
and as leverage for poverty reduction.
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