Monday, September 17, 2007

IDB to strengthen trade in Latin America & Caribbean


- IDB and WTO organize regional "Aid for Trade" meeting - IDB
Aid for Trade initiative critical for Latin America and the Caribbean - WTO

Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno recently announced the crucial importance of regional integration and foreign trade in order to bolster the regional economies and to eliminate poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB President made this comment at the Aid for Trade conference held by that Bank and the WTO in Peru, with the help of the Peruvian government and the World Bank.

The conference highlights the activities in the region under the aid for trade initiative that begun in December 2005, which initiative focuses on trade-related capacity building to help countries develop effective trade policies and related infrastructure. The aim of the conference is to strategize for and coordinate efforts to maximize the effectiveness of the initiative.

One of the key areas of focus of the conference, as highlighted by Moreno, is job creation. In order to spark job growth, the IDB president believes that competition in the private sector is necessary, and hopes that regional governments will help to create an environment fostering business competition and entrepreneurship.

Meanwhile, director-general of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, said that an effective development of trade in the region is not only critical for the region itself, but the global economy as a whole, as the latter could be strengthened and experience sustained growth with greater development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The WTO head stressed the importance of infrastructure in achieving this goal: including transport, telecommunications networks and other facilities that can increase the efficient shipment and reception of products.

Foreign trade is vital to continued development in the region, accounting for 50% or more of the GDP for all but a select few countries. In recent years, trade-related development aid has reached over 25 billion USD, or 30% of total development aid.

Question: Should education and job-training also be a primary focus of the initiative?

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