Shishir Priyadarshi, Director, Development Division, World Trade Organization
Aid for Trade supports developing countries to increase exports, to integrate into the multilateral trading system, and to benefit from liberalized trade.
Over the last 10 years, the Aid for Trade initiative and successive Global Reviews have shown that trade is being mainstreamed; additional financing has been secured; and trade is bettering the lives of many in developing countries.
Since 2006, a total of USD289.8 billion of official development assistance (ODA) has been disbursed to projects and programmes that seek to address trade bottlenecks.
The initiative has also succeeded in raising awareness about the positive role trade can play in promoting development. There is now empirical evidence and anecdotal findings from a large number of case stories suggesting that aid for trade is broadly correlated with improved trade performance. Furthermore, the initiative has proven to be flexible in addressing a broad set of issues on the evolving trade and development agendas including global value chains, trade costs and sustainable development.
Monitoring has also revealed that while progress is being made much still needs to be done. Many developing countries remain on the margins of global trade, attract limited foreign or domestic investment, and are locked into supplying a narrow range of goods or services. High trade costs often act as a brake on the trade integration of developing countries, in particular for LDCs, landlocked economies and small economies.
This session aims to reflect on what the Aid for Trade initiative has achieved in making trade more inclusive since its launch in 2005 and to identify where further work is still needed, particularly in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.