sustainable development goals

Mainstreaming trade to attain the Sustainable Development Goals

The WTO is central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which set targets to be achieved by 2030 in areas such as poverty reduction, health, education and the environment. This publication looks at the role played by the WTO in delivering the SDGs and identifies a number of steps that would help to ensure that international trade contributes to accelerating progress in achieving these goals.

"Mainstreaming trade to attain the Sustainable Development Goals" shows that by delivering and implementing trade reforms which are pro-growth and pro-development and by continuing to foster stable and fair trading relations across the world, the WTO is playing an important role in delivering the SDGs, just as it did with the Millennium Development Goals before them.

The book examines the SDGs from economic, social and environmental perspectives and outlines how trade is contributing to making progress in each of these areas, including through reducing poverty, improving health and supporting efforts to tackle environmental degradation. It also recommends a number of steps to help accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs.

Recommendations on ways to accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs

The publication makes the following recommendations:

  1. Mainstream trade into national and sector strategies to achieve the SDGs.
  2. Strengthen the multilateral trading system so that it can continue supporting inclusive growth, jobs and poverty reduction.
  3. Continue reducing trade costs including through full implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
  4. Build supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure in developing countries and least-developed countries.
  5. Focus on export diversification and value addition.
  6. Enhance the services sector.
  7. Apply flexible rules of origin to increase utilization of preference schemes.
  8. Ensure that non-tariff measures do not become barriers to trade.
  9. Make e-commerce a force for inclusion.
  10. Support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in international trade.

Published in 2018.


Executive summary

Download full publication


Order printed copy




Problems viewing this page? If so, please contact [email protected] giving details of the operating system and web browser you are using.