EU stands up for Aid for Trade

Despite the current economic crisis, the EU and its Member States have once again been confirmed as the largest providers of Aid for Trade in the world.

In fact, the EU accounted for around a third of total worldwide Aid for Trade in 2010, maintaining the record amount registered the year before and totalling some €10.7 billion in committed funding.

Aid for Trade helps developing countries to develop trade strategies, build trade-related infrastructure and improve their productive capacity in order to encourage growth and reduce poverty.

Activities supported by the EU include helping countries to build their capacity to trade through training and technical co-operation measures such as supporting national trade priorities, adjusting legislation on trade, and providing technical assistance for studies on trade-related subjects.

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the main beneficiary of EU Aid for Trade.

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: "Increasing and improving trade opportunities is part of the solution towards inclusive and sustainable growth of developing countries. Indeed, no country has ever lifted itself out of poverty without trade, at regional and international level."

Earlier this year, the European Commission adopted a range of proposals to make trade and development instruments work hand-in-hand to help reduce poverty across the world.

It proposed a number of ways to improve the effectiveness of EU trade and development policy, including reforming the Union's preferential trade schemes to focus more on the poorest countries and stepping up negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) with developing country partners.

Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: "The EU provides more trade-related development assistance than the rest of the world put together. This underlines our unwavering commitment to support developing countries' integration into the global economy."

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