Sommaire: EU agrees to move ahead with "aid for trade" package (16 October 2006: Luxembourg)
The Council agreed today that the EU should move ahead with pledges made in last year to make available EUR 2 billion annually by 2010 for "aid for trade", in response to recommendations issued in a report by the World Trade Organisation last week. The Council agreed that delivering this aid should not be linked to progress in negotiations under the WTO's Doha Development Agenda.
The "aid for trade" initiative is aimed at supporting developing countries' capacities for taking advantage of new trade opportunities that result from changes in trade rules and globalisation, given that making trade rules more favourable in theory is insufficient if developing countries are unable to increase trade in practice.
EUR 1 billion for trade-related assistance will be provided both by the European Community and collectively by the EU's member states. These funds will be earmarked for a category of projects aimed at strengthening the export capacity of developing countries through trade-related assistance. The member states and the Commission agreed to coordinate their spending in order to have maximum impact. The funds come on top of the EUR 22.7 billion that the Council agreed on in June 2005 for the European Development Fund for the 2008-13 period.
An important aspect of the Council's agreement was a commitment to earmark a substantial share of the "aid for trade" effort to support economic partnership agreements currently being negotiated with the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states with whom the EU has concluded the ACP-EU partnership agreement ("Cotonou agreement") until 2020.
The Council adopted conclusions at a meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council to be found in 13882/06.