Asian trade officials’ meet in Cambodia

KATHMANDU: Ministers, trade officials and senior government officials from around Asia today gathered in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to discuss the impact of the global crisis on trade, how ‘Aid for Trade’ can support private sector growth and how to include trade in national development strategies.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Haruhiko Kuroda and World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general Pascal Lamy urged for ongoing efforts to support trading activities in the face of the prolonged global financial crisis and the risk of protectionism.

“Developing countries, particularly least-developed countries and small states, need Aid for Trade not only to weather the crisis, but more importantly to prepare for longer-term development and structural adjustment,” Kuroda said in a keynote speech on the opening day of the two-day meeting.

Lamy said, “Trade is an essential ingredient to exit the crisis, but to keep the wheels of trade turning we need trade finance to flow. And to make trade work for the people, we need renewed efforts on Aid for Trade. This is the time for global solidarity.”

As part of those efforts, Kuroda and Lamy announced that Cambodia and Japan will lead an Asia-Pacific regional technical group on Aid for Trade. The regional technical group is tasked with preparing plans for stepping up Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific and will report at the Second Global Review on Aid for Trade in Geneva, Switzerland from July 6 to 7.

Aid for Trade was conceived in December 2005 to help developing and least-developed countries.