Aid for Trade offers possibilities for economic diversification
Practitioners from all over the world came together to talk about trade and development during the Aid for Trade Global Review at the WTO. The Aid for Trade at a Glance report, launched at the opening event on the 3rd of July, clearly shows economic diversification can boost the economic empowerment of women and youth. But it also shows that economic empowerment is essential for further economic diversification. It works both ways!
The Netherlands has been a consistent partner in and one of the top donors of Aid for Trade. This makes sense, as the Netherlands believes in an integrated approach of aid, trade and investments. By increasing the possibilities of trade, countries can diversify their economies and boost economic prosperity in general, and especially for the priority groups Dutch policy focusses on: women, youth and SME’s.
At the Global Review, several topics have been discussed in further detail. Among them are the possibilities of digital trade and e-commerce, on which the formal negotiations within the WTO are expected to start soon. Although there are challenges to overcome, digital trade and e-commerce offer many opportunities for developing and developed countries. It was exciting to see how companies are already using new technologies to boost trade across and within countries. Furthermore, many sessions had a strong focus on inclusive trade, with special attention to women, youth and SME’s. The report finds that more than 70% of the Aid for Trade activities supported by the Netherlands have a gender-focus within their policies. We are on the right track, with room for improvement. And last but not least, there was also a lot of attention for the perspectives of least developed countries and fragile states, which was one of the topics that the Netherlands organized a side-event on. For to reach the SDGs, no one should be left behind.
A new topic – at least, within the WTO sphere – that arose from the discussions was the effect of climate change on trade and the other way around. Not only were concerns raised about the risks that climate change can bring, such as natural disasters, but many also talked about how to benefit from the new opportunities that arise from it. Questions such as how to make value chains more sustainable or how to integrate environmental issues into government policy were discussed. Although not all could already be answered, it is interesting to see how these discussions evolve and how the Netherlands - its people, businesses and environment – can benefit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the PV in Geneva will keep you posted.