Looking Ahead: Mobilizing Aid for Trade in LAC
quirements. Recipients will be better placed to ensure that donor programs align more closely with their own agendas if they have a long-term development strategy, clear priorities for short and medium-term policy interventions, and defined needs. Attaining coherence with multilateral trade objectives. As well as strengthening developing countries’ capacity to trade, the aid-for-trade initiative seeks to improve the functioning and equity of the multilateral trading system. To some extent, therefore, it goes beyond ensuring that donor strategies are consistent with recipients’ needs. There is also an element of collective responsibility, among all WTO members, to work towards multilateral goals. To promote these goals in donor and recipient strategies, donor agencies will have to accept their legitimacy and alter their agencies’ terms of reference or practices to that end. How to bring about such change and monitor it—which might be as important as monitoring financial commitments, and perhaps more difficult—should be an important point for discussion in the aid-for-trade debate. 3.3. Moving from Diagnostics to Action Capitalizing on existing needs assessments. The dynamism of LAC’s trade agenda in the last fifteen years has resulted in many overlapping trade diagnostics and needs assessments. These were produced as part of a large number of bilateral and plurilateral trade negotiations, not all of which were convergent. The assessments vary in the extent to which they can readily give rise to concrete projects, but the region may be able to capitalize on this work in preparing projects for donor financing. Linking isolated supply-side interventions to the trade assistance agenda. Along with the drive towards more open trading regimes, LAC countries have funded—and have received external funding for—many projects that de facto seek to foster a better insertion into the global economy, including large infrastructure and business development initiatives. These projects, however, were neither conceived nor implemented as part of a comprehensive trade strategy. While LAC recipients and donors thus have experience in working on the isolated “dots” of the aid-for-trade agenda, the WTO’s new emphasis on supply-side constraints and adjustment offers an opportunity to “connect the dots” and capitalize on existing interventions that should form part of the agenda. This may require highlighting the trade-related dimension of such projects, giving trade experts a voice in overseeing their execution and planning new interventions in areas that can help to connect current efforts. Placing greater focus on implementation. There has been some frustration among recipients that, thus far, attention to trade-related assistance has focused unduly on the elaborate preparation of needs assessments, with few subsequent aid allocations to meet the identified needs. To retain the momentum of the aid-for-trade initiative and make real improvements in developing countries’ trade capacity, donors must send clear signals to recipients that implementation, rather than diagnosis, is a central principle of the initiative.
Published on Sep 14, 2007
this report was prepared by the integration and trade sector (int) as a contribution to the regional meeting on mobilizing aid for trade: la...