EC communication on trade, growth and development: A good start or a missed opportunity?
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On Friday 27 January the European Commission published its Communication on “Trade, Growth and Development: Tailoring Trade and Investment Policy for Those Countries Most in Need” proposing “concrete ways to enhance synergies between trade and development policies”. It contains all the right words, but does not say much new. As is often the case with EC Communications, the document brings together a breadth of content from across different Directorates within the EC. This leads to a relatively un-controversial document that appears to draw on the main emerging consensus in both fields of trade and development policy and tying in nicely a range of existing policies and agenda issues. In that regard, it is to be welcomed. It is also positive to see reflection on past policies and recognition of where policies could have better bound trade, growth and development together and where some aspects may need “review”. In essence, the Communication stresses, inter alia:
- the need for Europe to adopt a differentiated approach, focusing on the poorest countries – mainly Least Developed Countries (LDCs),
- the importance of addressing behind-the-border issues, supporting domestic reforms, infrastructure development, productive capacity and the various governance dimensions crucial for sustainable and inclusive growth, including the respect and promotion of human rights,
- the key role of private sector and investment,
- the need for better targeted and more effective aid for trade (AfT), and
- the importance of domestic ownership.