The Aid for Trade Agenda and Accompanying Measures for EPAs: Current State of Affairs

% Complete

    The Aid for Trade (AfT) agenda emerged at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in late 2005, yet progress in moving beyond the discussion of concepts and towards concrete implementation in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has proved complicated, and there are still a number of outstanding issues involved in translating the concept into workable proposals.


    Key Messages

    In a clear demonstration of its commitment to the AfT agenda, the EU adopted in October 2007 a joint Aid for Trade Strategy, which lays down a set of broad principles and activities to guide a coherent, EU-wide approach on AfT.

    The linkage between EPAs and AfT is clearly apparent in the respective approaches of ACP regions to AfT, in terms of both the process of elaborating AfT proposals, and their content.

    The EU has stressed that drawing linkages between the EPAs and AfT is done voluntarily on the part of ACP regions, and that provision of resources will take place regardless of whether EPAs are signed or not.



    The EU has made a significant contribution to the AfT initiative since its inception. This contribution in seen both in terms of the development of AfT concepts and in working with ACP and other countries to identify their AfT needs and mobilize development assistance to meet them.

    Already a significant donor collectively in the area of AfT, the EU has also had the extra motivation of being involved in negotiations on new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the ACP.



    Although it is only one year since the formal adoption of the Strategy, it is clear that implementing it and achieving concrete results is a difficult and complicated process.

    The approach agreed by the EC and member states is for the elaboration of coordinated ‘regional packages’ for each ACP region, although a number of questions remain about what packages will consist of, how EU member states will contribute, and how they will work with other potential other already programs being delivered or planned.

    On the side of ACP regions expectations were already raised about the potential of AfT, particularly with regard to the availability of increased resources.

    Moving forward, much work still needs to be done by ACP regions in elaborating their AfT needs, while at the same time integrating these into both national and regional development plans.


    Loading Conversation