Global Advocacy > World Bank Group (WB)

Global dialogue on trade and development

The World Bank promotes changes in the world trading system to make it more supportive of development, particularly for the poorest countries and for poor people across the developing world. This includes collaborating with the WTO, other multilateral agencies, governments in developing countries and donors to support a “pro-development“ outcome in the Doha Round, while also working with partners to maximize the developmental impact of regional trading agreements. The trade policies of developed countries, in particular, can have especially negative effects on developing countries – prominent examples include the support policies for agriculture in a number of high-income countries. Advocacy to remove such distortions and make international trade rules and institutions more supportive of the needs of developing countries can have a direct impact on the poor. The World Bank’s Trade Strategy outlines three priorities in this area: 
(i) continued analysis of the impacts on developing countries of policies implemented by major countries, international trade rules and actions that would benefit economic development prospects; (ii) assisting governments to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to regional market integration; and (iii) supporting international cooperation on trade-related regulatory reform (especially services policies). The Bank views Aid for Trade, especially in support of trade facilitation, as an essential complement to this process.

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Successful examples of WB advocacy being adopted

Examples include analysis to underpin advocacy for duty-free, quota-free access to G20 markets for LDCs; rules of origin reform; mechanisms to support the opening of markets for services suppliers from low-income countries, including through the temporary movement of natural persons; the interaction between intellectual property protection, trade, FDI, and growth; the appropriate design of trade agreements and linkages with Aid for Trade (“coherence”); agricultural policy reforms to reduce the volatility of world food prices and expand access to food; and analysis of the trade dimensions of climate change and related policies, including the need for financial support mechanisms and multilateral rules to address potential negative spillovers for developing countries.

An important dimension to such activities is the collection and reporting of comparable and consistent data on applied policies across countries and on outcomes. The Transparency in Trade (TNT) data initiative, a partnership of the ITC, UNCTAD, AfDB and the World Bank Group with support from UNSD, comprises a joint multi-year program of data collection, capacity building and open-access provision of trade and trade policy data. The objective is to jointly collect data that complements what is reported by the WTO, integrate the use of this data with related databases, and build capacity at the national and regional levels to make the data-collection and data-management sustainable. The range of data already available under WITS – which includes trade volumes and values, and tariff schedules –is being extended to non-tariff measures, including anti-dumping and other contingent protection measures, and policies affecting trade in services.