Publication [ID: 119]

Extending the benefits of trade to reduce poverty – Aid for trade from an Australian perspective

Australian Aid and World Vision have jointly published a report titled “Extending the benefits of trade to reduce poverty”. The report distils the insights contents and views from an Aid for Inclusive Trade Workshop held in Canberra in February 2019, which brought together around 80 Aid for Trade practitioners and policymakers from a range of sectors to discuss ways to maximise the inclusiveness of Aid for Trade. The workshop was co-hosted by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a Platform Board member, and World Vision Australia.

The report looks at how the inclusiveness and poverty reduction potential of Aid for Trade can be effectively maximised. In doing so, it provides insight into a broad scope of topics, ranging from market systems over gender and disability up to circular economies and technology in the context of Aid for Trade. One extra section of the report is devoted to monitoring, evaluation and learning. Each chapter discusses emerging issues and presents a case study. The various “contributions to this volume make clear the potential of trade to connect marginal groups in society to international markets, offering pathways out of poverty”, summarises Peter Draper from the University of Adelaide. Marginal groups often need external assistance to provide them with both access to markets and the know-how to access them. Aid for trade has a role to play in this. The workshop identified primarily three categories of targeted interventions:

  • Technical assistance for trade policy and regulations, with focus on trade policy and administrative management, trade facilitation, regional trade agreements, multilateral trade negotiations, and trade education and training;
  • Trade-related and economic infrastructure, e.g. building roads, ports and telecommunication network to connect domestic markets to the global economy;
  • Productive capacity building, e,g. support for the private sector to exploit its comparative advantages and diversify its exports .

“Aid for Trade exists in a dynamic environment in which global challenges are on the rise and the trading system is increasingly in question, partly owing to a myriad of inclusivity challenges in developed as well as developing countries”, the report states. Like any ODA programme, Aid for Trade strategies can produce painful trade-offs. “Choices will have to be made between buttressing developing countries’ trade policies and capacity frameworks, and supporting marginal groups in societies where traditional development assistance has an important role to play”, said Draper.


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