Aid for Trade

Aid for Trade helps developing countries, and particularly least developed countries, trade. Many developing countries face a range of supply-side and trade-related infrastructure obstacles which constrains their ability to engage in international trade.

The WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative encourages developing country governments and donors to recognize the role that trade can play in development. In particular, the initiative seeks to mobilize resources to address the trade-related constraints identified by developing and least-developed countries.

See also:
> Cotton, including the sub-committee

  

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News  back to top

 

Ministerial Declaration

At the Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15-18 December 2015, ministers agreed the following text on Aid for Trade as part of the Ministerial Declaration:

“We recognize the importance of the Aid for Trade initiative in supporting developing country Members to build supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure and we shall accord priority to the LDCs’ needs. We take note of the outcomes of the WTO global reviews on Aid for Trade, in particular the Fifth Global Review, and recognize the continuing need for this initiative”.

>WT/MIN(15)/DEC: browse or download

 

Global Review of Aid for Trade

The purpose of the Global Review is to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of Aid for Trade to provide a strong incentive to both donors and recipients for advancing the Aid for Trade agenda.

 

Aid for Trade work programme  back to top

Activities under the Aid for Trade initiative are carried out on the basis of a biennial work programme. These work programmes promote deeper coherence among Aid for Trade partners and an on-going focus on Aid for Trade among the trade and development community, with the emphasis on showing results. Work programmes have generated impetus for Aid for Trade activities on the ground.

In line with the text on Aid for Trade agreed by ministers as part of the Ministerial Declaration of the Tenth Ministerial Conference held in Nairobi in 2015, an Aid-for-Trade Work Programme has been developed to provide a framework for activities in 2016-17.

The work programme was issued on 16 February 2016. Under the theme of “promoting connectivity”, it aims to help developing countries connect to trade so that they are able to fully exploit their potential. The programme seeks to build on the insights generated by the Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade which looked into the issue of trade costs. With an increased focus on services trade, the programme aims to further deepen analysis of how high trade costs inhibit the integration of developing countries into global value chains and restrict their economic development. The programme’s main focus of activities relate to gender and women’s empowerment, upgrading infrastructure for developing countries, e‑commerce and digital trade, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). These activities will culminate in the Sixth Global Review of Aid for Trade which is tentatively scheduled for mid-2017.

 

Role of the WTO  back to top

The role of the WTO is to:

  • encourage additional flows of Aid for Trade from bilateral, regional and multilateral donors to support requests for trade-related capacity building from beneficiary countries

  • support improved ways of monitoring and evaluating the initiative

  • encourage mainstreaming of trade into national development strategies by partner countries.  


The Enhanced Integrated Framework is the main mechanism through which least-developed countries access Aid for Trade.

The Standards and Trade Development Facility maintains close contacts with the Aid for Trade initiative. It complements this global scheme through projects and monitoring of aid flows at an operational, issue-specific level.

> Fact sheet on Aid for Trade
> Presentation — Aid for Trade: why, what and how?

 

Background

The Aid for Trade initiative was launched at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in December 2005. In February 2006 the WTO established a Task Force, with the aim of “operationalizing” Aid for Trade.

The Task Force recommended in July 2006 that Aid for Trade should focus on identifying the needs within recipient countries, responding to donors and acting as a bridge between donors and developing countries. It also recommended the establishment of a monitoring body in the WTO, which would undertake a periodic global review based on reports from a variety of stakeholders.

 

Working in cooperation  back to top

The WTO works in cooperation with, and encourages coordination among, a number of key players in the Aid for Trade initiative to take forward the Task Force recommendations. Key players include: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, International Trade Centre (ITC), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Bank, World Customs Organization, the Enhanced Integrated Framework, and the Standards and Trade Development Facility.

 

Implementation/monitoring  back to top

In 2007 the WTO’s Aid for Trade initiative moved into its first stage of implementing the 2006 recommendations of the Aid for Trade Task Force.

The WTO started by establishing a system of monitoring Aid for Trade at three levels:

  • global monitoring of overall Aid for Trade flows, based on work carried out by the OECD

  • monitoring the commitment of individual donors to provide additional Aid for Trade

  • monitoring how the needs of developing countries for additional Aid for Trade are being presented to, and met by, the international donor community, including the development banks.

A Symposium Identifying Indicators for Monitoring Aid for Trade was held on 15-16 September 2008.

Since the inception of the Aid for Trade initiative, four monitoring exercises have been undertaken, each with greater complexity and depth. Global Review events have also been held under the themes of “Maintaining Momentum” in 2009, “Showing Results” in 2011, and “Connecting to Value Chains” in 2013. At each event, the WTO and OECD issue a joint flagship report on “Aid for Trade at a Glance”.

 

Regional reviews  back to top

Working with its partner agencies, the WTO also encourages the holding of national and sub-regional Aid-for-Trade reviews to “road-test” Aid-for-Trade plans, identify priorities, and agree on how these plans and priorities should be implemented. These review events provide a platform to raise awareness of Aid for Trade, showcase “real-world” examples of Aid-for-Trade strategies in progress, and create incentives for other countries and sub-regions to follow. The results of these regional reviews are profiled in the Global Reviews of Aid for Trade.

> Regional Reviews 2009
> Regional Reviews 2007

 

Events  back to top

 

Official documents on Aid for Trade  back to top

Links to documents series: (WT/AFT/*) and (WT/COMTD/AFT/*)