MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The World Trade Organization (WTO), its members and key development organizations, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will conduct the Second Global Review of Aid for Trade - aimed at expanding the trade capacity of developing countries - on 6-7 July 2009 in Geneva.
The Second Global Review will evaluate progress made since the First Review, held in November 2007, and scrutinize how Aid for Trade is being put into operation in the field. Progress in securing additional, predictable financing will be discussed and views exchanged on how aid flows can be maintained against the backdrop of the global recession.
The four key objectives of this Second Global Review are:
- Moving from commitment to implementation: The meeting will assess how Aid for Trade is making good on its promise as the agenda moves from commitment of funds (increase of 10% annually since 2005 to funding pledges today standing at more than $25 billion annually; for non-concessional loans add an additional $27 billion) to implementation in concrete projects at the multilateral, regional and national levels.
- Integrating trade in national and regional development strategies: The meeting will analyze how trade can be better integrated into core national and regional development strategies, the obstacles faced and how this process can be encouraged.
- Sustaining aid flows during the global economic downturn: This Review will study the impact that the global economic downturn is having on Aid for Trade flows, how can donors be persuaded to engage long term through additional and predictable financing, and what role emerging South-South donors can play in Aid for Trade.
- Assessing the effectiveness of Aid for Trade: The Geneva gathering will try to find what conclusions are emerging on the results and effectiveness of Aid for Trade so far. The second joint OECD/WTO monitoring report "Aid for Trade at a Glance", to be published coinciding with the Second Global Review, highlights that the Aid for Trade initiative has already made remarkable progress.
ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda is due to speak at the conference. ADB has long been a supporter of the WTO Aid for Trade initiative as a way to help low-income countries in the Asia and Pacific region catch up with nations such as the People's Republic of China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and Singapore which have prospered from export-led growth.
Ministers, trade officials and senior government officials from around Asia gathered in Siem Reap, Cambodia in late May to discuss the status of trade in Asia. At that meeting, Cambodia and Japan were appointed as co-chairs of a Regional Technical Group on Aid for Trade tasked with stepping up Aid for Trade in the Asia-Pacific.
Aid for Trade was first conceived in December 2005 to help the world's low-income countries increase their capacity to conduct exports and imports. Among the initiatives are efforts to put in place crucial infrastructure for the transportation of goods, standardizing policies and ensuring available trade finance.
The latest gathering will take stock of progress made in those efforts to boost trade since the first Global Review also held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2007.