Fast-Track Fund for Asian Trade Development

Article excerpt

In Asia, 19 developing countries and two regional organizations stand to gain from fast-track access to trade-related technical assistance, in a three-year, euro5 million programme financed by the European Commission (EC) and ITC. The aim is to help countries to integrate better into the world economy and to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

Trade moves at a faster pace than ever before. Lengthy approval procedures of most trade assistance programmes can mean risky delays in response. This faster, lighter scheme helps to bridge the gap.

Managed by ITC, the Asia Trust Fund (ATF) supports national efforts to benefit from WTO rules or sector-specific initiatives to strengthen exports. The fund supports projects for short-term assistance, with a budget of up to euro200,000 and a maximum duration of one year. The fund complements bilateral programmes of the EC, ITC and other development partners, particularly for national and regional trade development strategies, including Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

Since launching the ATF in 2004, ITC and the EC have organized meetings in Brussels, Geneva and Bangkok to brief diplomatic representatives of eligible countries on the aims of the initiative and how it operates. The first meeting was hosted by the EC; the second, by ITC; and the third, by the International Institute for Trade and Development, Thailand's focal point for the ATF. …


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