World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy on Tuesday called for effective international aid for poor countries to improve their trade capacity and help them fully benefit from global trade opening.
Development assistance is central to helping developing countries "move from making trade possible to making trade happen," Lamy told a high-level meeting aimed to review the WTO's Aid for Trade program.
Lamy said the WTO's core business is to create trade opportunities through multilateral trade opening and the building of multilateral rules to ensure a level playing field.
But removing obstacles to trade is often not enough for countries, particularly poor ones, to reap the benefits of trade opening.
He said to fully benefit from further trade opening, countries need not only trade opportunities but also trade capacity, which includes the right domestic policy framework, institutional capacity and economic infrastructure.
While developed countries have the possibility to mobilize the resources needed for enhancing trade capacity," in many developing countries these resources come in the form of development assistance," Lamy said.
The Aid for Trade program was launched in December 2005 at the WTO's sixth ministerial conference in China's Hong Kong.
The program aims to help developing countries, in particular the least developed, to build the trade capacity and infrastructure they need to benefit from trade opening.
Leaders from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations on development aid are attending the two-day meeting.