Aid for Trade: Supporting Trade Preference Reform - Working Paper 224

Susan Prowse
September 28, 2010

Aid-for-trade programs can help strengthen low-income countries’ supply capacity and knowledge of trade preferences, which will allow them to take fuller advantage of these preferences. Aid for trade to support preference reform can be divided into three categories: (i) creation of information-sharing mechanisms to ensure that governments, SMEs and other businesses are aware of the opportunities that preferential market access offers; (ii) capacity-building support to overcome supply-side and policy constraints; and (iii) support to ease the adjustments to preference erosion that will inevitably occur.

As with other aid initiatives, coordination and cohesion among assistance programs is critical for success. Delivery mechanisms such as the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the Trade Facilitation Facility (TFF), and the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), are aimed at facilitating such coordination, but more could be done.

And, as preference programs are intended to be temporary, aid for trade can also facilitate graduation from these programs and compensate beneficiaries for preference erosion. Unfortunately, this area is still lacking the level of innovation and financial support needed.

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