On March 8, GMF hosted Fiona Shera, Edward Barker, Mary Ott, and Katrin Kuhlmann to discuss transatlantic cooperation on trade and development in the post-economic crisis environment. The discussion was moderated by Sean Mulvaney, Director of GMF's Economic Policy Program.
The speakers concentrated on market access opportunities for developing countries suffering economic recession, and discussed transatlantic cooperation on trade and capacity building policies.
Edward Barker of the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills highlighted rising protectionism as an issue for developing countries and transatlantic businesses. He pointed out that the G20 forum and the completion of the Doha Round are key processes to fight protectionism and respond to the needs of different countries. These processes will also test the ability of developed and developing countries to collectively shape the multilateral architecture moving forward. Similarly, Fiona Shera of the UK Department for International Development put emphasis on the significance of the completion of the Doha Round and granting 100 percent duty-free quota-free access for LDCs as well as other market access opportunities in the near future, including better unilateral preference policies and the Economic Partnership Agreements. Ms. Shera noted that transatlantic policy coherence on Aid for Trade is essential to ensure better trade capacity building, including at the regional level, and underscored the importance of integrating the private sector into capacity building efforts.
On the issue of trade capacity building, Mary C. Ott of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) gave a snapshot of USAID activities in developing countries. USAID operates programs on trade capacity building all around the world in cooperation with other U.S. agencies. Today trade capacity building represents 12 percent of total economic growth assistance provided by the United States. Since 2001, USAID has supplied more than $3.1 billion on trade capacity building for more than 110 developing countries. Ms. Ott underscored that trade capacity building activities help developing countries to effectively integrate into the global multilateral community, and they underpin poverty reduction, human rights development, technology transfer, technological innovation, and good governance.
Katrin Kuhlmann, Resident Fellow at The German Marshall Fund, summarized the conversation by reiterating the call for a new transatlantic agenda at all levels. She argued that the conversation around trade is currently overly narrow and needs to be reframed creatively to address the question of how markets work at domestic, regional, and international levels. Ms. Kuhlmann stressed the need to engage with various policy opportunities, and gave the example of the Global Food Security Initiative, arguing for an agenda which includes trade as well as nutrition and emergency intervention to ensure that markets work to deliver food for the poor. Ms. Kuhlmann also highlighted trade preference programs and foreign aid reforms as important opportunities. She argued for making food security and regional integration in developing countries a priority, and linking Development Corridors in Africa to all efforts, including at the WTO, as crucial areas for future transatlantic collaboration.
Fiona Shera, the Head of Trade and Development at the Joint Trade Policy Unit of the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom
Edward Barker, the Head of Trade Policy, Joint Trade Policy Unit, UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
Mary C. Ott, the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade United States Agency for International Development
Katrin Kuhlmann, Resident Fellow, the German Marshall Fund of the United States
Please click here to listen to the full presentations of the speakers.