The false promise of Aid for Trade
AbstractAbstract Aid for Trade (AfT) has gained prominence as an innovative form of donor support in the era of the ‘post’-Washington Consensus. Institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Commission, and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) have heralded AfT concessions as a means of creating a level economic playing field between industrialised nations and countries in the global South. Specifically, AfT mechanisms have been praised as a means of aligning trade liberalisation deals (whether in the Doha Round or within bilaterals) to poverty reduction objectives. Donor AfT assistance to low-income states’ trade capacity – including support to government ministries, private sector development, and local infrastructure – are understood to construct a more balanced global trade system conducive to the needs of ‘the poor’. This article, however, through critical analysis of AfT discourse within the ‘moral economies’ of multilateral WTO and bilateral EU-ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) negotiations, points to the strategic purposes of donor language in rationalising asymmetric North- South trade systems. Moreover, it questions the ‘development’ credentials of AfT assistance, given its disbursement to strategically significant middle-income states in relation to Western overseas interventions, private sector activities that have dubious consequences for supposed beneficiaries, and the tying of AfT disbursements to the implementation of inappropriate policies.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by BWPI, The University of Manchester in its series Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series with number 16011.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-01-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2012-01-18 (Development)
- NEP-PKE-2012-01-18 (Post Keynesian Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Oecd, 2009. "Trading Out of Poverty: How Aid for Trade Can Help," OECD Journal on Development, OECD Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 7-41.
- Calì, Massimiliano & te Velde, Dirk Willem, 2011. "Does Aid for Trade Really Improve Trade Performance?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 725-740, May.
- Wolfe, Robert, 2009. "The special safeguard fiasco in the WTO: the perils of inadequate analysis and negotiation," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(04), pages 517-544, October.
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