Gearing up for Trade
Australia's support for trade facilitation programs
The evaluation commissioned by Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) examined and assessed the effectiveness of Australia's recent investments supporting trade facilitation and regional trade agreements to find out how Australia's investments may be better targeted in the future. The evaluation examined DFAT's portfolio of Aid for Trade activities and assessed four of Australia's investments in trade facilitation and regional agreements in detail. These were:
- ASEAN–Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Economic Cooperation Support Program (AANZFTA AECSP) in Cambodia and Laos.
- The Trade Development Facility 2 (TDF-2) in Laos.
- The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) program which assists Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
- The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus), currently being negotiated between 14 Pacific nations.
The evaluation found that DFAT investments in trade facilitation have been effective in addressing capacity issues, have the potential to make significant impacts to poverty reduction, and contain many elements of good global practice. Australia's trade facilitation investments were found to have assisted partner countries in Asia and the Pacific to better integrate with regional and global economies. These investments work best when they are responsive to partner government priorities, complement and assist developing countries' own efforts to boost economic growth, and enable an innovative and competitive environment. Overall the investments have been effective in addressing capacity issues across a diverse range of areas, with the flexibility in designs enabling programs to be responsive and well-targeted. Improvements can be made in the use of integrated approaches, private sector engagement, gender equality and women's economic empowerment, and monitoring and evaluation.