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WTO Members emphasise on lower trade costs

By TIOL News Service

GENEVA, JULY 16, 2017: THE WTO member nations reaffirmed their commitment to the Aid for Trade initiative, and to the development of the organization at the closing session of the Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 on Friday. Particular emphasis was laid on the importance of the above exercise in aiding developing and least developed countries (LDCs) to connect to global markets and lower trade costs.

The enthusiasm in participation was reflected by the overall turnout, with over 1500 attendees arriving for the sessions, which was conducted over a three-day period. There were 55 sessions in all, wherein the particpants debated over the importance of Aid for Trade, and the direction for the initiative in the coming years. Dedicated to the theme of “Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development”, the Global Review provided a platform for high-level discussions on the Aid for Trade initiative.

In its decade-long existence, the Aid for Trade initiative made significant achievements, such as -

  • Disbursal in aid of almost 300 billion dollars in support of Aid for Trade since 2006;
  • Disbursements reached an all time high of 39.8 billion dollars in 2015;
  • Such disbursal of aid benefitted 146 developing countries till date, mainly African and Asian nations - with 27% of the total going to LDCs.
WTO DG Roberto Azevêdo stressed upon the close synergy between Aid for Trade and the Sustainable Development Goals, and that in fact the achievement of the latter required an increase in Aid for Trade support for developing countries, particularly LDCs. Thereupon, he sought to ensure that Aid for Trade continues delivered more & improved its coordination internationally. DG Azevêdo further called upon members to pay more attention to the specific needs of LDCs & on ensuring such needs  were met. He also echoed the calls from many members and institutions to mainstream gender issues into the Aid for Trade work. It was also proposed that the Aid for Trade initiative could be used to tell the success story of how trade helped nations escape poverty and connect to global value chains. The DG Roberto Azevêdo lastly expressed hope that such meeting of minds and exchange and free flow of ideas would enable the Aid for Trade initiative to march from strength to strength.