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Aid for trade

Overview of Australia’s aid for trade

2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$715.4 million

No country has achieved high and lasting growth without participating in trade.

Aid for trade is a global initiative of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that helps developing, and least developed countries, reduce poverty through trade. Many countries are unable to take advantage of trade opportunities, due supply-side constraints such as:

  • poor infrastructure, including roads, ports and information and communications technology;
  • lack of private sector capability, including limited access to finance and distribution channels, and a lack of a skilled workforce; and
  • weak public sector institutions, including in formulating economic policy and regulations and negotiating trade-related agreements.

Australia has been a strong supporter of the aid for trade initiative, since it was launched in 2005, and actively participates in the Global Aid for Trade Review, a monitoring exercise conducted every two years.

Partnerships for Recovery and Aid for Trade

Australia’s development policy, Partnerships for Recovery, articulates the key role that trade plays in economic recovery from COVID-19 in developing countries. It notes that we will provide advice and support to partner governments on pathways to longer-term economic recovery, including revitalising export markets, accessing finance for trade and investment, and helping the private sector re-establish markets and global value chains.

Partnerships for Recovery highlights that we will work with like-minded partners, and international institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, to avoid protectionism and keep the global trading system open. Australia is recognised as a forceful advocate for open trade, in recognition of the mutual benefits accruing to Australia and developing countries. Aid for trade investments are designed to complement and assist the trade-related initiatives of developing countries to increase economic growth, generate jobs and increase living standards.

How we are helping

Our aid for trade builds on, and supports, our trade and development policy efforts for a transparent, and predictable rules-based trading system. For example, we support developing countries to implement the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which cuts red tape at the border, making trade faster, cheaper, more efficient, and therefore more accessible for developing country traders. Our support has helped globally to reduce customs physical inspections, eliminate unnecessary documents, and automate manual processing steps.

How we contribute

Australia's aid for trade investments are made through multilateral, regional and bilateral channels. The bulk of aid for trade funding is provided through bilateral country and regional program areas.

Australia has a strong record of effective aid for trade investments, which complement, and can help achieve, other development objectives, including the economic empowerment of women, financial inclusion, health and disability.

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