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Ambassador Karen Tan (Singapore)
World Trade Organization
184. The representative of the WTO Secretariat Development Division said that Aid for Trade aimed to help developing countries, particularly LDCs, to build supply side capacity and trade related infrastructure. As a result, they would benefit more from WTO Agreements, expand their trade and benefit more from the multilateral trading system. Aid for Trade was part of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) – grant and concessional loans – targeted at trade related programmes and projects. It was a broad activity and not readily defined. The idea had started in Hong Kong, China, at the Ministerial Conference in December 2005 and resulted in a Task Force which conducted its work throughout 2006. He said that it was important to understand that Aid for Trade was not a new global development fund but more an integral part of normal, programmable ODA. About 20 per cent of annual ODA was devoted to building supply side capacities, particularly for low and middle income countries that engaged in international trade. 185. Aid for Trade covered various areas: (i) trade policy and regulations, which could include aspects of intellectual property rights; (ii) trade development, which mainly focused on investment promotion and institutional support for business and trade in services; (iii) trade related infrastructure which covered physical infrastructure such as ports, roads, railways, bridges, water systems and electricity generation; and (iv) other areas including trade related adjustment which included support for a loss of revenues due to trade reform. 186. The Task Force had underscored the global accountability of Aid for Trade flows which were monitored by the OECD and included questionnaires which were then sent to all beneficiaries. The data on aid flows, and priority needs of LDCs and developing countries were then included in two publications published for the first and second Global Reviews on Aid for Trade called "Aid for Trade at a Glance". The first publication was released in November 2007. The last went out in July 2009. 187. He explained that Aid for Trade flows amounted to US$25.4 billion in 2007. This figure was US$4.3 billion higher than during the baseline period of 2002 2005. This was an increase which had not come at the expense of overseas development assistance provided in other areas such as health or education. The share of flows going to support trade policy and regulation helped low income countries to develop trade strategies but represented only three per cent of the entire US$25 billion. 188. The OECD/WTO Doha Development Agenda Trade Capacity Building Database had tracked 588 entries for trade related IPR activities. These had been provided by 15 different sources, including WTO Members, specifically Australia, the European Communities and its member States, Japan, Korea and Norway, as well as international organizations including APEC, Inter American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, WIPO and WTO. For example, the technical assistance programmes that the WTO conducted in the area of intellectual property were included amongst the 588 entries. In the past, assistance with trade related intellectual property amounted to some US$12.1 million between 2002 and 2005 and had risen to US$27.4 million in 2007. This figure needed to be treated with some caution because it was hard to differentiate the actual amount of Aid for Trade that went to IPR related activities. The best approach was to actually request information from the receiving country to see what kind of project had been implemented or what kind of technical assistance had been provided. That said, even though it was impossible to offer an accurate picture of the assistance offered and supportive IPR related activities, it was clear that implementation of the TRIPS Agreement was an integral component of Aid for Trade, both at the practical level of projects on the ground and at the conceptual level of the coverage of the definition of Aid for Trade. Aid for Trade had come a long way since the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, and would continue, given the 2009 to 2011 work programme. 189. Finally, he underlined a few key points: (i) pledges that had been made by governments to continue Aid for Trade flows would be maintained and even improved, especially in light of the current economic crisis; they would continue to be predictable, sustainable and effective; (ii) work would continue on promoting mainstreaming trade into national and regional economic planning frameworks; (iii) the regional dimension of Aid for Trade was extremely important for the regional donors, including development banks, regional economic communities and bilateral donors, taking the lead in developing and realizing Aid for Trade projects; (iv) further work would be conducted on evaluation and monitoring mechanisms that tracked the impact of Aid for Trade; and (v) the private sector role had to be highlighted since it was the private sector that engaged in trade.