Monday, July 10, 2006

Aid for Trade: Prospects for the Future

June 6, 2006. 8:45am-4:00pm

Ambassador Mia Horn-af-Rantzien, Swedish Ambassador to the WTO, and chair of the Aid for Trade Task Force Ambassador Valentine Sendanyoye- Rugwabiza, Deputy Director General, WTO
Mr. Bede Lyimo, Assistant Director, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Tanzania Mr. Iba Mar Oulare, Conseiller Technique Ministre Commerce, Ministère de L'Economie et des Finances, Sénégal Ms. Joanna Hill, Director for Trade Policy, Ministry of Economy, El Salvador Mr. Tawfik Ramtoolah, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Mauritius Ato Eyessus W Zafu, President, Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce
Sheila Page, Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development InstituteWalter North, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAIDJohn Panzer, Sector Manager, Trade, World BankCal MacWilliam, Director, Canadian International Development Agency Mrs. Nohra Rey de Marulanda, Manager, Integration and Regional Programs Department, Inter-American Development Bank
Arthur Litman, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Compliance, FedEx Trade Networks Karl-Heinz Schlaiss, Senior Manager Corporate Relations, Daimler ChryslerScott Miller, Director, National Government Relations, Procter and GambleSusan Bornstein, Director, Program Development, TechnoServe Robert H. Kapp, Senior Advisor, Realizing Rights

Ambassador Mia Horn, Swedish Ambassador to the WTO, and Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General of the WTO, attended the Aid for Trade event to discuss ongoing Aid for Trade (A4T) negotiations. A4T seeks to improve conditions throughout the world by building trade capacity in less developed nations to complement market openings resulting from the Doha Round of WTO negotiations. The Ambassadors were at the Wilson Center to discuss AFT with government and private sector officials from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, representatives from international aid organizations, and representatives from the international private sector.
Representatives from Sub-Saharan African and Latin American governments perceived A4T as a complement to, not a substitute for, Doha trade negotiations. These representatives focused on the need for greater supply-side capabilities in developing countries, the importance of recipient-defined preferences, national and regional consensus building between the public sector, private sector, and civil society, and the importance of private enterprise in capacity building. Additionally, some representatives included social programs and safety nets in the A4T agenda, while others recommended that these programs and protections be excluded from the A4T agenda.
Next, a second panel debated the respective roles of aid and trade reform in the A4T agenda. On the one hand, some panelists believed A4T is necessary with or without a successful outcome at Doha, and that A4T is somewhat independent of the Doha negotiations. Other panelists argued that trade reform is necessary for A4T’s eventual success, and the A4T negotiations should follow the Doha Round closely. Panelists generally agreed that an A4T program needs to be demand driven with priorities set by recipient countries, trade must be integrated in development programs, the A4T program cannot take a “one-size-fits-all” approach, progress must be monitored and evaluated, and donors must help recipient countries seek out private sector assistance.
Finally, a panel of private-sector executives and NGO leaders advocated for public-private partnerships in the A4T agenda. Panelists explained why supply-side capacity building benefits the private sector in an increasingly global economy, and how the private sector is currently contributing to this form of capacity building. For example, the represented companies are holding entrepreneurship workshops in developing countries, mentoring small and medium enterprises, and developing companies’ infrastructures overseas. These panelists recognize the need for public-private partnerships to scale up A4T efforts and ensure their sustainability. Trade capacity development, these panelists argue, is mutually beneficial to developing countries and multi-national corporations.

by Adam Perry

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