AID FOR TRADE

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Committee on Trade and Development Aid for Trade Session

The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) exercise that will underpin the Aid for Trade Global Review, due to take place in mid-2022, was one item discussed by members at the meeting. Ambassador Mujtaba Piracha of Pakistan, the chair of the committee, outlined the process that he envisaged would lead to the Aid for Trade Global Review based on the theme “Empowering connected, sustainable trade”.  

The need to facilitate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighted by some members as a theme to be explored.  Members noted that the Aid for Trade Stocktaking event last March was a first attempt to survey the trade impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Another theme that several delegations highlighted as a topic for consideration was the gender dimension to Aid for Trade  and how it can contribute to the work in the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender.

Several WTO members provided overviews of their Aid for Trade activities.  The European Union updated members on the European Green Deal and the Third Gender Action Plan, which includes targets to promote gender equality through trade policy. The United States highlighted initiatives funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), including a partnership with the private sector to design programmes with shared risks to address environmental challenges.

Updates provided by China and Russia focused on COVID-19 vaccine cooperation. Russia highlighted that the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in 66 countries, with several countries also manufacturing it locally.  China said that it had provided more than 350 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the global community, including free vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and advanced vaccine exports to 40-plus countries. China also provided assistance to several developing countries to promote large-scale production of vaccines at a fast pace, totalling USD 2 billion in assistance for COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery.

India informed members that it has a dedicated centre for WTO studies that undertakes various technical assistance and capacity building initiatives to assist least-developed countries (LDCs) to better integrate into the multilateral trading system. The Republic of Korea also noted that it supports women in West Africa through the “She Trades” programme and is mainstreaming the gender agenda into its trade programmes.  The Republic of Korea is also seeking to raise the profile of greening and climate change-related and digital-related aspects within the context of Aid for Trade.

Both Myanmar and Viet Nam gave updates on their Aid for Trade activities, pursuant to recent trade policy reviews.  Myanmar has implemented a series of trade policy reforms and initiated an analysis of post-COVID economic recovery in 2020 to curb the effects of COVID-19 on Myanmar's exports.  Viet Nam said it issued the National Strategy on Gender Equality for 2011-2020 to create awareness, close the gender gap, and enhance the status of women.

WTO members also received updates on resource mobilisation and implementation of Aid for Trade related activities from international financial institutions. The Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Islamic Trade Finance Cooperation (ITFC) and the World Bank provided updates. The World Bank highlighted two recent publications that address the growing importance of the committee's Aid for Trade portfolio to trade policy formulation, which are the Data for Better Lives report and the Distributional impacts of trade.

Updates were also given by the Enhanced Integrated Framework, the International Trade Centre, the Standards and Trade Development Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on implementation of green economy initiatives and projects that deal with the response to COVID-19.

Workshop on “Circular Economy, Economic Diversification and Aid for Trade”

On 10 June some 120 participants attended an Aid for Trade workshop on “Circular Economy, Economic Diversification and Aid for Trade”.  Participants discussed sustainability in a broad sense and looked at the opportunities and risks that the circular economy offers for value chain integration and export diversification. It featured perspectives offered by intergovernmental organizations (Asian Development Bank, UNIDO, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), WTO members (Ecuador, Rwanda, the United States and Viet Nam) and UK-based Chatham House. 

An informal summary of discussions and copies of presentations can be found on the event webpage: WTO | Circular economy, economic diversification and Aid for Trade  

Aid for Trade is a multi-stakeholder initiative seeking to mobilise resources to address the trade-related needs and supply-side constraints identified by developing countries and least-developed countries. More information can be found here.

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