WTO members have highlighted the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the participation of developing countries in world trade. At a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Development on 7 July dedicated to Aid for Trade, members noted that developing countries’ exports of goods and services have been badly affected by a global decline in demand and disruptions in production chains.

At the meeting, WTO members agreed to extend the period for implementing the current Aid for Trade work programme, “Empowering Connected, Sustainable Trade”, and to schedule the next Global Review for 2022.  They also agreed to work towards reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the work programme, possibly through an addendum.

WTO Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah, who oversees development matters in the WTO Secretariat, said: “The WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative plays a valuable role in mobilizing action to address the trade needs of developing countries, and in particular the least-developed countries. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing progress made in their trade integration and economic development. We are following very closely the impact of the pandemic and the measures that members are taking in response to it.”

Aid for Trade is a multi-stakeholder initiative seeking to mobilize resources to address the trade-related needs and supply-side constraints identified by developing countries and least-developed countries. It is therefore essential that the global activities of the Aid for Trade initiative help countries to address the additional challenges they are facing because of the pandemic. More information can be found here.

The informal Aid for Trade meeting on 14 September 2020 will be chaired by Ambassador Mohammad Qurban Haqjo of Afghanistan.

Information on the seventh Global Review that took place in July 2019 can be found here.

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