2007-09-19 16:06:03 Xinhua
Top global and regional financial officials pledged Wednesday to help small and weak states in Asia and the Pacific to benefit from trade and spur economic growth to alleviate poverty.
Over 20 finance and trade ministers gathered in the Philippines for a two-day regional review meeting "Mobilizing Aid for Trade: Focus Asia and the Pacific" hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Trade Organization (WTO) in association with the Philippine Government. Officials from key donor countries and private sector representatives are also attending the meeting.
Although developing Asia's blistering economic growth has captured global attention, some economies in Asia and the Pacific are still lagging behind and facing significant challenges, said the officials.
The experience of East Asian economies showed that adoption of outward-oriented developed strategies can help to harness trade as an engine of growth and alleviate poverty, they said.
"I believe ADB can contribute to making 'Aid for Trade' a viable, efficient, and effective way to help our less developed members and small states benefit from both increased trade, growth, and better economic cooperation and integration," said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda in his opening remarks for the conference.
"Aid for Trade" is a complement, not a substitute for Doha Development Round, the trade leaders said, adding a successful completion of the Doha Round will help the small and weak states the most.
Aid For Trade will help the less developed economies to strengthen their capacities through outward market-oriented reforms to participate in the process of globalization, said the officials.
Regional multilateral development banks like ADB have been involved from the start of WTO's Aid For Trade Initiative that was launched at the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2005. At the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, major donors pledged around 15 billion U.S. dollars for the "Aid for Trade" Initiative.
Officials said for less developed economies to benefit from global trade, they need access to infrastructure, like transport, telecommunication networks, modern custom facilities, and financial resources to make the necessary transition to develop open, market systems and other key services that drives globalization.
The "Aid for Trade" conference aims to stimulate a dialogue among Asia-Pacific economies, particularly less developed economies and small states, and donor countries on how to boost economic infrastructure, focus on productive capacity building and provide help in transition to adoption of more outward-oriented trade policies, and boost capacity to formulate, negotiate and implement trade policy and related agreements, ADB said in a press release.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, 48 from the region.