Lamy calls for help to make trade happen for developing countries

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New Delhi, Nov 24 (UNI) World Trade Organisation Chief Pascal Lamy has called for assistance to developing countries to enable them from making trade possible to making trade happen.

In his report at the first Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva last week, the world trade body Director General said development assistance is central to helping developing countries move from making trade possible to making trade happen.

Removing barriers is not enough for any country to benefit from trade it has to adapt as well, he said, adding that WTO is about making trade possible by creating opportunities through multilateral opening and building multilateral rules to ensure a level playing field.

To fully benefit from further trade opening, countries require the right domestic policy framework, institutional capacity and economic infrastructure to be in place, said Mr Lamy.

He said this is a reality both in developed and developing world, but whereas developed countries have resources and capacity to pursue and exploit fully the opportunities presented by trade opening, for many developing countries these resources come in the form of development assistance. And this is where aid for trade comes in and becomes central to helping developing countries move from making trade possible to making trade happen, he said.

It was the 2005 Hong Kong ministerial conference that mandated the WTO to help developing countries, especially the least developed, build the trade capacity they need to take advantage of trade opening.

He said Aid for Trade can and must be an important complement to a successful Doha Round with development as a central pillar.

The Director General said it has never been the goal of the WTO to direct or dictate how Aid for Trade should be delivered. ''We are not a development agency ... (but) we do have a role and a responsibility for ensuring that our members, especially the least developed among them, can benefit from the trade opening and strengthened rules we are working so hard to negotiate.'' Stating that trade can be a powerful engine of development as demonstrated by the success of China, India, Brazil and South Africa, Mr Lamy asked how to expand the trade capacity of developing countries to enable them to be also successful.

He said, ''making trade possible is only half of the challenge, making trade happen is the other half, which requires infrastructure, technology, know-how, financing and competitive exporters.'' The future of an open world economy and the multilateral trade system that underpins it depends on all countries sharing in the benefits more equitably, Mr Lamy said.


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