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WTO extends programme to help Caribbean trade

Posted in: Regional News by admin | 08 January 2015 | 4100

    WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo
    WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo

     GENEVA, Switzerland (CMC) -- The World Trade Organisation (WTO) says the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), a multi-donor programme that helps the poorest countries, including in the Caribbean, will have its mandate extended into a new phase.

    The WTO said the EIF Steering Committee made the decision.

    "Trade can be an effective tool for economic growth and poverty reduction when the right conditions exist," said WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, in addressing the committee.

    "The EIF was established precisely to help LDCs create those conditions," he added.

    The EIF Steering Committee, which includes representatives of all least-developed countries (LDCs) and the donor community as well as EIF partner agencies, decided to extend the mandate of the programme into a second phase, starting from 2016.

    The Steering Committee urged the EIF to build on the achievements of the first phase while addressing the need for reforms in key areas in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the programme.

    The WTO said the EIF is currently helping 50 of the poorest countries worldwide.

    The WTO is one of six partner agencies of the programme and also hosts the Executive Secretariat.

    Azevêdo stressed that the programme is "making a difference on the ground through increased private sector development and employment in some of the poorest countries.

    "There is no other programme that supports LDCs to address all aspects of their trade capacity in this way -- and that puts the LDCs themselves in the driver's seat," he said.

    Azevêdo, however, said that, in order for the programme to remain relevant, the evaluation proposed new issues for inclusion, such as regional integration, the role of the private sector and proper insertion into global value chains.

    The EIF board -- supported by its Working Group process, of which the WTO Secretariat is a part -- has been deliberating over all of these recommendations on the future of the EIF, Azevêdo said.

    "We are all responsible for improving the EIF's effectiveness and making LDCs more active players in the multilateral trading system," he said.

    "The WTO is proud to provide the institutional home of the EIF -- because of what it delivers -- and because of what it says about our priorities."