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“Coherence” (working with other organizations)
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“developing countries” and “least-developed countries” in the WTO
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countries participate more fully in the global trading system is one
of the WTO's most important activities. Those developing countries
which trade successfully tend to be those which have made the most
progress in alleviating poverty and raising living standards. But
there are countries, including a large number of least-developed
countries (LDCs) where trade is failing to make the contribution that
it should be making to economic growth and poverty reduction.
The main thrust of
WTO work to redress this is the
Doha Development Agenda, but
Members have recognized that building trade capacity is an essential
complement to the DDA.
There are a variety
of ways in which the WTO provides assistance to build trade capacity in
developing countries, but instructing developing country delegates on how
their countries can gain through the trading system is the central focus
of the organization's efforts. The vast bulk of WTO “technical
assistance” spending is dedicated towards helping officials better
understand complex WTO rules and disciplines so that they can implement
WTO agreements in ways which will bolster their trading regimes and
negotiate more effectively with their trading partners. Broader and more
effective dissemination of such knowledge has facilitated the
participation of developing country trade officials in the Doha round
and in other WTO activities.
capacity involves other forms of assistance too, including building more
efficient ports and road networks, providing customs officials with
automated equipment and teaching entrepreneurs how to take advantage of
business opportunities in the global marketplace. Work of this nature is
largely the responsibility of other international organizations like the
United Nations and the World Bank. Some programmes, particularly those
involving infrastructure, require significant funding not only from
international organizations but also direct contributions from national
governments. To be truly effective, any programme of trade capacity
building requires all these elements to come together in a co-ordinated
fashion. For this reason many WTO activities in this area involve close co-operation with other international organizations.
Assistance to developing countries has always been on WTO's work
schedule, but the scale and scope have become much broader with the Aid
for Trade initiative.
Why is building trade
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Because many countries simply
don't have the human, institutional and infrastructural capacity to
participate effectively in international trade. Without that, these
countries won't be able to expand the quantity and quality of goods and
services they can supply to world markets at competitive prices.
human capacity refers to
the professionals governments rely on for advice on WTO matters: trade
lawyers, economists, skilled negotiators. A country that lacks these
professionals is clearly at a disadvantage when implementing existing
trade agreements, when negotiating new ones, and when handling trade
refers to the institutions businesses and governments rely upon for
trade, such as customs, national standards authorities, and the
delegation representing the country at the WTO. Trade ultimately
suffers if these institutions are inadequate.
infrastructure refers to
the physical setup required for trade to happen: roads, ports,
telecommunications. Again, countries lacking infrastructure will find
it difficult to develop trade.
The WTO's trade rules,
negotiating forum and dispute settlement system are not goals in
themselves. They are necessary preconditions for free and predictable
trade, but are not always sufficient to create results.
WTO Members have recognized that the multilateral system needs to be
accompanied by improvements in trade capacity.
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The WTO mandate to carry out
technical cooperation activities is provided for in various WTO
agreements and decisions. This mandate was clarified and further
enhanced in several paragraphs of the Doha Ministerial Declaration.
and differential provisions
Kong Ministerial Declaration (paragraphs 52-54)
Aid for Trade Events
thirds of WTO's members are developing or
About CHF 30
million is budgeted annually for technical assistance
activities > More
for Aid for Trade
In 2009, Aid for Trade reached approximately US$ 40 billion, an increase of 60% in real terms since 2005.