Aid for Trade important for development of poor countries, UN official says

21 March 2006

An aid programme to build better trade policy and to overcome supply constraints for developing countries is one of the most important results of the recent Hong Kong ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a top UN trade official said today at the opening of the Aid for Trade meeting in Geneva.

“I must emphasize that aid for trade is not a panacea to all trade-related problems facing developing countries,” said Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), stressing that it did not replace the needed reforms of the international trade system being negotiated through the Doha Round of WTO talks.

“However, if the initiative is adequately designed, managed and implemented, it can make a significant difference in enabling developing countries to really use trade and trade liberalization as an engine of development and poverty reduction.

The amount of aid needed and the detailed use of the funds will be discussed over the course of the meeting, Dr. Panitchpakdi said. However, many activities have already contributed to some of the objectives targeted by the aid-for-trade initiative, including UNCTAD projects intended to help small farmers improve the quality and competitiveness of their products.

Such projects, targeting small mango and papaya producers in Ghana, for example, have helped farmers comply with quality and phytosanitary requirements, generating augmented export flows surpassing $100,000.

 

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