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  • Aid for Trade

    Aid for Trade is an initiative that assists developing countries, particularly least-developed countries, in building their supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure to expand their trade opportunities. ITC’s focus is on empowering beneficiary countries to build the technical capacity of their private sectors and ensuring their viewpoints are taken on board in the Aid for Trade strategy.

    The programme for 2012-2013 focuses on five key areas: resource mobilization; mainstreaming trade into development plans and programmes; regional trade integration; private-sector development; and the monitoring and evaluation of Aid for Trade. The goal of the programme is to promote deeper coherence on Aid for Trade among the trade and development community, with a focus on results.

    A Global Review of Aid for Trade takes place every two years to monitor the progress of the initiative and to ensure that the needs of recipient countries are being met. The Review was first held in 2007 after the WTO Task Force recommended the establishment of a monitoring body to undertake periodic reviews based on reports from a variety of stakeholders.

    The main objectives of the Global Review are to check on the progress of Aid for Trade, to identify what should happen next and to strengthen WTO monitoring and evaluation of the initiative. These objectives are aimed at creating a strong incentive for both donors and recipients to advance the Aid for Trade agenda.

    ITC @ 4th Global Review

    The Fourth Global Review, which was held on 8–10 July 2013 at WTO Headquarters, took the theme of ‘Connecting to value chains’. It examined the use of development assistance to connect developing countries and least-developed countries to global value chains, all within the context of the post-2015 development agenda. ITC’s main focus was on ensuring that the business sector’s viewpoint on the effectiveness of the initiative was reflected in the Aid for Trade dialogue.

    Over the course of three days, the Review focused on:

    • The relationship between value chains, trade and the post-2015 development agenda;
    • Strategies that enable developing countries to connect to value chains;
    • Challenges and development benefits associated with the strategies; and
    • Future perspectives for the Aid-for-Trade Initiative.

    For more information on ITC’s participation in the event, please visit ITC's Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade webpage (http://www.intracen.org/about/aid-for-trade/fourth-global-review-of-aid-for-trade/?LangType=2057).

    ITC's Case Studies for the Aid for Trade Global Review 2011

    The Third Global Review of Aid for Trade was hosted by the WTO in Geneva on 18 and 19 July 2011. The Global Reviews in 2007 and 2009 have comprehensively demonstrated that Aid for Trade is making progress. Partner countries recognize the need to mainstream trade in their national and regional development strategies, and are making progress towards this objective. Donors are responding by mobilizing additional resources. ITC is highlighting several of its projects through videos, as well as the case stories submitted for the 2011 review: 
    African Cotton Development Initiative
    This document summarises ITC's work in the African Cotton sector. It outlines the challenges faced at the regional level and what ITC is doing to help overcome these, particularly focusing on South South cooperation.

    Ethiopian Coffee Quality Improvement Project
    The project in question successfully met its objective of establishing seven coffee quality-testing laboratories in rural Ethiopia. The attachment outlines how this was achieved - noting the strong national political backing and the complementary support from other donors - as well as lessons learned.

    The Ethical Fashion Programme - Not Charity, Just Work
    Ethical Fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing and lifestyle products which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment. The ITC Ethical Fashion Programme enables disadvantaged African communities and their groups of informal manufacturers - mostly women - to access the international value chain, thus developing their export capacities and strengthening their position in their respective domestic and regional markets.

    Aid For Trade and Export Performance: A Business Perspective Uganda
    This document focuses on assessing the impact of Aid for Trade on economic growth, trade creation and poverty reduction in Uganda.

    Modular Learning System – Supply Chain Management
    ITC is filling a gap in training with its Modular Learning System in Supply Chain Management (MLS-SCM). The programme consists of a series of 18 complete and up-to-date training modules on supply chain management, as well as a professional certification programme with international examinations managed by ITC.

    Market Analysis Tools and Capacity Building for LDCs and Developing Countries
    This case study describes ITC’s experience in large-scale dissemination of trade information through the market analysis tools. It outlines the rationale for their development, namely: to help developing countries diversify their products and export markets; align their market access negotiating positions to the needs of companies; and ensure that trade policies capitalize on national export potential and address market access impediments.

    How it works

    Aid for Trade is a new way of approaching development assistance. It is primarily a vehicle for enabling developing countries, particularly least developed countries, to integrate better into the multilateral rules-based trading system.

    Developing countries must clearly prioritize their technical assistance needs in order to access Aid for Trade. Responding development partners then provide assistance.

    As the largest multilateral team dedicated entirely to trade-related technical assistance, ITC contributes the business perspective, promoting private sector voice in trade policy development; and offering solutions to supply-side constraints that keep developing countries from participating more fully in world trade.

    ITC’s role

    ITC can legitimately claim to be the ‘100% aid for trade’ organization. We work in partnership with the WTO and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), supporting their regulatory, research and policy strategies and helping to turn them into practical projects.

    As the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, ITC enables small businesses export success in developing countries.

    “We reaffirm the priorities established in paragraph 38 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration for the delivery of technical assistance and urge the Director-General to ensure that programmes focus accordingly on the needs of beneficiary countries and reflect the priorities and mandates adopted by members. ... In particular, we encourage all Members to cooperate with the International Trade Centre, which complements WTO work by providing a platform for business to interact with trade negotiators, and practical advice for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from the multilateral trading system.” - WTO Ministerial Declaration, Hong Kong, 2005

    Development of Aid for Trade

    Aid for Trade was launched at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in December 2005 and has become embedded in ITC’s work. The four pillars of the programme link directly to ITC’s three strategic objectives of helping to make national policy environments friendlier for export business; strengthening national and regional institutions that provide services to exporters; and helping enterprises to become more competitive in the global market.

    Aid for Trade Agenda - International Trade Centre (ITC)

    Enhanced Integrated Framework

    The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) provides a comprehensive mapping of the trade needs of least-developed countries (LDCs). That information is used to assist the countries in seeking out funding for trade-policy development, trade development and building of productive capacities.

    The work mainstreams trade into the LDCs national development plans. EIF is the primary source of accessing additional Aid for Trade resources and is a multilateral trust fund financed by OECD donors. For more information, see also the the WTO's EIF page.

    Engaging the private sector

    A key component in the Aid for Trade programme is enhanced dialogue with the private sector. As stated at the WTO’s Aid for Trade Work Programme, ITC‘s role is recognized in “Promoting the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises and micro-enterprises within the Aid for Trade initiative. Particular emphasis needs to be given to the financing needs of this sector.”

    ITC has a strong comparative advantage when engaging with the private sector within the multilateral trading system of which WTO accession is one component. There are still a significant number of LDCs seeking WTO accession, and ITC complements the work of the WTO and UNCTAD by building the private sector understanding and partnership with the public sector in making a successful bid for membership to take advantage there of.

    ITC works with the business community to highlight private sector concerns, so that the business voice is included in the Aid for Trade process. ITC has a track record in organizing business advocacy events to support inclusion of the voice of business in the Doha Development agenda and Economic Partnership Agreements. The private sector is assisted in organizing and acquiring technical competence so that it can engage in effective advocacy for trade development.

    ITC also shares inspirational cases of public-private partnership. Other countries can adapt and develop their own approaches for an enabling business environment. ITC also continues to document business interests and concerns through its websites.

    Ongoing enhancements

    The Second Global Review of Aid for Trade identified some key areas on which the programme will intensify its efforts:

    • A stronger regional dimension in Aid for Trade. There will be more reliance on regional partners including the development banks and bilateral donors to take the lead in the evolution of regional Aid for Trade projects.
    • The importance of monitoring and evaluating the impact of Aid for Trade. Aid for Trade is being encouraged to develop as a community of best practice.
    • Emphasis on high-level political commitment for policy reform and the mainstreaming of trade in national development plans.
    • The growing role of South-South cooperation in Aid for Trade. Regional experts say such programmes are “demand driven” and beneficial to all involved.
    • The complementary nature of trade hardware and software. The conference underlined that trade hardware, such as infrastructure (especially roads and ports) across regions remains important. Equally crucial is soft infrastructure, also known as trade software. This encompasses training and capacity building for institutions and firms on standards, rules of origin and customs, as well as trade information and identification of market opportunities which helps them to make the most of trade hardware.
    • Reducing the costs of trade. Lack of pro-competitive regulations brings soft costs in transport and shipping; lack of trade intelligence (information) brings costs to find interesting export niche markets. Aid for Trade programmes must work to reduce these costs.

    ITC's participation in Aid for Trade events in 2010:

    • January 2010 Aid for trade Regional Review for ECOWAS Abuja, Nigeria
    • March 2010 ITC session on "Connecting West African farmers to the market WTO, Geneva
    • October 2010 WTO Workshop on Mainstreaming of Aid for Trade, including ITC/WTO Expert Roundtable on Gender and Aid for Trade, WTO, Geneva. ITC also presented an assessment of the impact of private sector mainstreaming efforts on demand and utilization of Aid for Trade.
    • 1-2 December 2010 Aid for Trade Ministerial meeting for SPECA countries Azerbaijan including ITC session for private sector titled ‘New Market opportunities in a Changing Business Environment’.
  • Highlights

    LDCs make progress in services trade waiver

    LDCs make progress in services trade waiver

    ITC and DR Congo discuss prospects for SMEs_thumbnail

    ITC Executive Director and DR Congo’s Minister of Commerce explore areas cooperation

    Arancha GonzalezTN

    WTO Chief of Staff and former senior European Commission official to lead the International Trade Centre

    A4T GambiabilateralTN

    Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade provided opportunity to strengthen trade and development cooperation between ITC and partner countries


    ITC at the WTO's 4th Global Review of Aid for Trade: An ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative exhibition and panel discussion


    ITC at the WTO's 4th Global Review of Aid for Trade


    ITC at the WTO's 4th Global Review of Aid for Trade