The coherence between trade and other international economic policies and initiatives that affect the development prospects of developing countries has received increased attention since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round agreements (URA). The WTO agreement explicitly calls for collaboration between the new institution and the Bretton Woods institution; that is, the IMF and the World Bank (see Article III of the Agreement Establishing the WTO). After the conclusion of the Agreement the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank engaged in a series of discussions that resulted in formal understandings among the three institutions aimed at ensuring better information flows and stronger collaboration between their management and staff.
But of course the question of policy coherence both antedates the WTO and goes beyond it. There have always been tensions between the trade policies of developed countries at the national level and their efforts to promote development, especially through technical and financial assistance. Their trade policies have been dominated by commercial objectives, frequently narrowly defined. Their assistance policies, on the other hand, have been motivated by a variety of political, developmental and humanitarian as well as commercial and economic objectives. A good example of the latter is the practice of tied aid, which has characterized a significant proportion of the bilateral aid programme of almost all donors.
Questions of coherence at the national level also arise in developing countries, where trade policy implementation, typically by weak Ministries of Trade, sometimes runs counter to overall policy directives formulated by Ministries of Planning or Finance, often in the context of agreements with the IMF and the World Bank. At the same time, at the