Better regulations and better negotiations as tools for trade: where aid for trade can and cannot help

Working and discussion papers
March 2011
Sheila Page
This note is intended to cover a sequence of trade needs and the role (if any) of aid for trade for each:
  • conforming to legal (and customary) standards and rules in trade (including, but not only, tariffs, preferences, SPS, TBT, etc.);
  • establishing the institutions to enforce and set the rules;
  • improving the application of rules (trade facilitation, information, etc.);
  • negotiating changes in rules affecting trade;
  • identifying and prioritising the changes in rules likely to help each developing country's trade.
For the first four, the paper looks briefly at who is doing what and at any apparent gaps in what should be done. For the last, defining trade policy, the paper also questions how to set the boundaries between legitimate (and necessary) areas of assistance and interference in national policy. The conclusion summarises the gaps in provision and also suggest some areas where changing donors' own trade policies can be of direct assistance.
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