The aid for trade initiative : a WTO attempt at coherence
Title: The aid for trade initiative : a WTO attempt at coherence
Author: HALLAERT, Jean-Jacques
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS PP; 2015/06; Global Governance Programme; Global Economics
The Aid for Trade Initiative is an answer to developing countries’ requests for technical and financial assistance in the Doha Round negotiations. These requests prompted the WTO to collaborate with donors and development agencies but no attempt at increasing coherence between trade policy, aid policy, and development policy has been made. The main reason is that, while the WTO Secretariat had to collaborate with other institutions, it is not institutionally in a position to influence aid allocation. Aid for trade is delivered on donor’s terms in the same way than any other form of aid and the WTO’s role is largely limited to calling for more financial resources. The stalled Doha Round negotiations made matters worse as not only the Initiative was headless but it lost its initial core purpose of supporting the implementation of a multilateral agreement. As a result, the Initiative has grown increasingly de-linked from the Doha Round and support to trade capacity building and trade reforms has progressively slipped off donors’ priorities list. In its Aid for Trade Work Programme for 2012-13, the WTO implicitly acknowledged this reality. It did not call to increase coherence in policy making or in aid-for-trade delivery but merely asked donors to consider the trade dimension of their emerging new priorities. The Trade Facilitation Agreement reached in 2013 at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali is an opportunity to refocus the Initiative on clearly trade-related issues: implementing a multilateral trade agreement and reduce trade costs.
Subject: WTO; Policy coherence; Economic development; Aid-for-trade; Capacity-building
Type of Access: openAccess