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My message today is straightforward. In this Committee, in the G8, in
the WTO and elsewhere, we have succeeded — beyond expectations — in
raising the importance of Aid for Trade and convincing developing
countries that it is a priority. We now need to deliver on our
I do not need to tell you why Aid for Trade is important to the WTO.
Many developing countries have only experienced “virtual” gains from
previous multilateral Rounds, in part because they lack the capacity to
trade effectively. And this had made some reluctant to even consider
further trade opening in the WTO Doha Round. Though Aid for Trade is not
part of this Round — the so-called “Single Undertaking” — it will be
critical to maximizing a successful outcome for many country.
But Aid for Trade is important in a broader sense. By focusing on the
policies, institutions and infrastructure that developing countries need
to benefit from trade opening — and globalization — Aid for Trade had
focused new attention on the growth and competitiveness agenda — of
which trade is a central part. More and better Aid for Trade is a
priority. But the objective is also to change mind sets, not only to
build harbours and roads.
Now that we have focused minds — and raised expectations — we need to
deliver results. The role the WTO has been given is to mobilize,
monitor, and evaluate Aid for Trade. We are currently establishing a
system of monitoring at three-levels: global monitoring, based on the
work carried out by the OECD; donor monitoring, based on
self-evaluations, and recipient monitoring, based on in-country
In order to connect the dots — and bring the picture into sharper focus
— we are also organizing three regional reviews — in Latin America,
Asia, and Africa — in cooperation with the World Bank and the relevant
Regional Development Banks, with the regional banks taking the lead on
the ground. The purpose of these events is to encourage recipients,
donors and the private sector — collectively — to focus on real-world
challenges, to prioritize needs, and to work towards deliverable
All of this will culminate in an annual Aid for Trade event in the WTO
in November — under our coherence mandate.
Let me be clear about the purpose of this exercise: It is not to turn
the WTO into a development agency. This is not where the WTO comparative
advantage lies. The goal is not to create a new mechanism, but rather to
get the many existing mechanisms to work together more efficiently and
effectively. By improving transparency — shining a brighter spotlight on
Aid for Trade — we can create incentives to honour commitments, meet
needs, improve effectiveness, and reinforce mutual accountability.
The “spotlight” is already working. On recent trips to Africa, Asia,
Latin America and the Caribbean I have witnessed that developing
countries are taking Aid for Trade seriously — and that many have
started engaging actively in identifying priorities, mainstreaming trade
in national strategies, and working with neighbouring countries on
regional approaches. They see Aid for Trade as a needed and necessary
catalyst for leveraging investment, entrepreneurship and reform.
The onus is on donor countries to respond. At the Gleneagles Summit, at
the WTO's Hong Kong Ministerial Conference and again at the Singapore
Annual Meetings last year, promises were made to dramatically scale up
ODA in general and Aid for Trade in particular. Donors now need to
follow through on those commitments, clarify their plans, and begin
delivering the additional resources, starting with the Enhanced
Integrated Framework for the Least Developed Countries. Indeed, I would
urge the Development Committee to follow up on the issue of
Aid-for-Trade at its next meeting in October. If we want developing
countries to make trade a priority — and they are — then donors must
reaffirm that trade, as a tool of development, is a priority for them as
This leads to me to the Doha Round, where the WTO can make a major
contribution to development by further reducing trade barriers and
strengthening international trade rules. Aid for Trade can — and must —
be an important complement to a successful Doha Round, but it cannot be
The Doha Round is entering into a decisive moment. If we are to conclude
it by the end of 2007, as pledged by a number of players in Delhi this
week, we will have to see tangible progress over the coming weeks in
Geneva. Success is entirely within reach, provided all WTO members are
ready to make a contribution.
As expressed by African finance ministers meeting in Addis early this
month, trade opening, investment, and development assistance as
interlocking pieces of a broader pro-growth strategy — whose overall
objective is to raise living standards and reducing poverty. This is a
vision of development long advocated by this Committee and the
governments represented here today. Now that the vision is within reach,
this is no time to turn away.
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Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund