Shaw Cites Need for Increased Trade Assistance to Developing Countries


Finance and Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw, has cited the need for increased trade-related assistance to developing countries, to enable them to mitigate the adjustment costs of trade liberalization.
He said that while globalization has presented many countries with “extensive opportunities” for increased direct investments and access to information through trade and technology transfer, more powerful and larger countries are being increasingly integrated into the global economy than others, through trade liberalization. To this end, the Minister said, it has become increasingly evident that countries, such as those in the Caribbean, will need the necessary assistance to negotiate some of the challenges associated with multi-lateral trade liberalization.
Minister Shaw was speaking today (June 16) at the opening of the two-day International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)/Organisation of American States (OAS) symposium on: ‘Aid for Trade for the Caribbean: Making it a Reality’ at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston. ‘Aid for Trade’ comprises support that finances trade-related technical assistance and infrastructure, and assistance to develop productive capacity.
He noted that the ever increasing price of commodities, the rising cost of crude oil and the threat of a global food crisis, will have an impact upon countries’ ability to achieve their macro-economic and social objectives adding that the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) proposed Aid for Trade facility is a comprehensive initiative, which will have particular relevance for developing countries.
Noting the financial and technical assistance that the Aid for Trade package offers, the Minister said that this will enable developing countries to maximize the benefits and minimize the cost outlays related to trade liberalization. Issues of key concern to countries, particularly in CARICOM, include: agriculture, non-agricultural market access, trade facilitation, poverty alleviation, economic growth, investments, and the maintenance of healthy balance of payment.
“It is envisaged that the Aid for Trade proposal will respond to the needs of developing countries. Moreover, it should represent a break with the traditional belief that one size fits all. It is incumbent upon us to seek to benefit from this approach and to ensure that it works well and is designed with our particular needs in mind,” Mr. Shaw stressed.
Noting the “renewed commitment” shown to the Aid for Trade programme by some donor countries, he said the United States, during the 2005 WTO Hong Kong Ministerial meeting, pledged to double its contribution to US$2.7 billion by 2010. Additionally, the European Commission has promised to provide an annual increase of €1billion in contributions over a three-year period.
Mr. Shaw pointed out that given the magnitude of the initiative, which the Caribbean has to undertake fulfill its obligations for trade liberalization, the region is “looking forward to any future increases in not only the amounts pledged by donor countries, but in the disbursement of the funds.”
The meeting, which ends tomorrow (June 17), has attracted delegates from across the region for discussion on matters pertaining to Aid for Trade in the Caribbean, and the impact that the programme will have on territories.

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