This week, in preparation for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, USTR.gov is reviewing trade preference programs for a look at how developing countries can use trade to help alleviate poverty and raise living standards.
U.S. aid for trade is about giving countries, particularly the least trade-active, the training and technical assistance needed to: make decisions about the benefits of trade deals and reforms; implement their obligations to bring certainty to their trade regimes; and enhance such countries' ability to compete in a global economy. This also helps create more consumers for U.S. goods and services in developing countries.
U.S. assistance addresses a broad range of issues, so rural areas, small businesses and female entrepreneurs benefit from ambitious reforms in trade rules that are being negotiated in the World Trade Organization and in other trade agreements such as the U.S.-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. Developing countries, particularly the least-developed, also benefit from U.S. preference programs such as the Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act. More on those programs in later blogs.
Just a couple of examples... In Vietnam, USAID partners with MastersFood and the World Cocoa Foundation to help cocoa farmers market their product.
In El Salvador, USAID is working to help small business take advantage of trading opportunities. While at the same time, it is working to improve the government's ability to manage and conserve two watersheds, protect biodiversity in and around protected areas, and enhance the ability of households living in key watersheds to diversify their incomes.
The United States increased its annual TCB spending to $2.3 billion in 2008, an increase of 60 percent from the 2007 fiscal year. For details, please go here.