Sumario: September 21, 2004: Trade and Development: success stories in EU trade-related assistance (Brussels)
Between 2001 and 2004 the European Commission has spent € 2.8 billion in supporting developing countries' efforts to benefit from trading opportunities, meaning new commitments of around €700 million per year. A total of 121 new projects were launched in 2003 alone. Today EU Commissioners Pascal Lamy and Poul Nielson launch a report on the EU's trade-related assistance - Making Trade Work for Development - setting out a number of these success stories.
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: "Trade can make a vital contribution to economic growth and poverty reduction in the developing world. To reflect this fact, we have made trade-related assistance a priority for the EU's development spent in recent years." He added "I am pleased to report that these efforts have brought some excellent results on the ground, and these case studies show the very real effect this assistance is having on the lives of people in developing countries."
EU Development Commissioner Poul Nielson said: "During these last five years this Commission has made itself a strong advocate for "making trade work for development. As it is shown by this selection of cases this is not simply an empty slogan used in Brussels, but very much the reality on the ground in a number of our partner countries. "
Among the success stories featured in the report published today, Myner Exports Kenya's trade with the EU has increased threefold in the two years it has been participating in the ACP-wide Pesticides Initiative Programme. Fair trade projects in India and Mexico have boosted micro-businesses, brought women into the labour markets and launched new brands. The Bangladesh Trade Support Programme is building capacity and expertise in government departments, enabling the country to participate effectively in WTO and other negotiations.
Another success story is the recent launch of the on-line Helpdesk, (http://export-help.cec.eu.int), which provides a tool for developing countries' exporters to access more easily the EU market. The free-of-charge helpdesk contains key information on customs duties, customs documentation, rules of origin and trade statistics available on line immediately. Since its launch the on-line helpdesk has been consulted over 323,000 times which makes an average of over 1,400 queries per day. The contact mailbox has been used intensively and over 600 detailed information requests have been dealt with by the Commission in the meantime. The bulk of the requests originate from China (2,523), Brazil (1,402), Peru (840), Uruguay (792), Morocco (772), India (703), Chile (616), Colombia (570) or Egypt (484). A second phase, to be completed by February 2005, will widen the range of information to cover product specific import requirements such as sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and information on internal taxes such as VAT and excise duties applicable in the individual Member States.
Trade is a key priority for the EU's development policy. As well as working to achieve improved market access and international trade rules under the Doha Development Agenda, the EU also provides assistance to help developing countries with the practicalities of benefiting from trade.
Trade related assistance aims to help companies and sectors but also regions, governments and institutions in developing countries. It covers an amazingly diverse range of issues from assistance with the WTO negotiations, customs reforms, infrastructure improvements, products safety schemes or support to private companies in export markets.
For more information, see:
See also Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament Trade and Development: Assisting Developing Countries to Benefit from Trade