Aid for Trade: Chronicle of a WTO Attempt at Coherence
Subjects: WTO and Globalization
Developing countries requests for technical and financial assistance in the Doha Round negotiations prompted the WTO to collaborate with donors and development agencies. This led to the Aid for Trade Initiative. However, no attempt at increasing coherence between trade policy, aid policy, and development policy has been made. The main reason is that, while the WTO Secretariat had to collaborate with other institutions, it is not institutionally in a position to lead or influence the Initiative. His role is largely limited to calling for more financial resources but aid for trade is delivered on donor’s terms in the same way than any other form of aid. The stalled Doha Round negotiations made matters worse as not only the Initiative was headless but it lost its initial core purpose of supporting the implementation of a Doha Round agreement. As a result, the Initiative as grown increasingly de-linked from the Doha Round and, short of a multilateral agreement, support to trade capacity building and trade reforms is slipping off donors’ priorities list. In its current Aid for Trade Work Programme the WTO implicitly acknowledges this reality. It does not call to increase coherence in policy making or in aid delivery but merely asks donors to consider the trade dimension of their emerging new priorities.