Aid for Trade may influence the balance in trade negotiations and thereby further compromise the already tenuous relationship between developed and developing nations within the WTO.3 This paper critically examines the Aid for Trade mandate of the WTO and looks at its potential advantages and predictable challenges. Ultimately, it will be argued that the WTO as it is currently constructed does not have the legal and political frameworks conducive to an Aid for Trade remit.
The most obvious advantages of the Aid for Trade aspirations of the WTO are found in its rationale for introducing this system trade. Accordingly, the WTO states that its rationale for introducing the Aid for Trade remit is for:
Ideally, the WTO’s rationale for introducing the Aid for Trade mandate makes sense. It is certainly true that involvement in international trade has the capacity to reduce poverty of many millions as evidenced by China and India.5 Unfortunately, not all countries have been able to benefit from world trade as a result of declining participation in the global markets.6 Obviously, the WTO perceives that Aid for Trade is a means by which those countries with minimal access to global markets may become more active participants.
Aid for Trade is perceived as a method for assisting developing countries with meeting the cost necessarily incurred in gaining access to global market opportunities. The fact is, many developing countries do not have the requisite infrastructure necessary for export. For instance they are sorely lacking in “efficient ports, adequate roads, reliable electricity and communications” as well as technology and skills to comport with the “product standards” of the “high value markets”.7 Obviously, Aid for Trade is viewed as one method for providing the necessary funds or opportunities for improving these infrastructure shortfalls. In this regard, Aid for Trade can be seen as a means for providing support in respect of the recipient