The Japan's statement of Second Global Review Meeting on Aid for Trade

Remarks by Mr. Shintaro ITO, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan
On the occasion of the Second Global Review Meeting on Aid for Trade

Geneva, 6 July 2009
Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva

I am honored to have the opportunity to explain Japan’s commitment towards Aid for Trade (AfT).

Since the global economic crisis of last fall, world trade has unfortunately not recovered from its difficult situation. Under such circumstances, it is essential for us all to counter protectionism by intensifying our efforts to keep trade open, and to encourage the further integration of developing countries, especially LDCs, into the multilateral trading system. In this regard, I am of the view that open trade and Aid for Trade are two wheels of the same cart, which are essential for revitalizing world trade.

In 2005, Japan announced the Development Initiative for Trade, as its unique and proactive contribution to Aid for Trade.  Over the following three years, Japan successfully achieved all commitments under the Initiative, through various assistance, such as doubling ODA for Africa at TICADⅣ, and the “One Village, One Product Campaign” which aims to support developing countries’ efforts in entering the Japanese market. Our efforts through this initiative were highly appreciated by partner countries in regional review meetings in Africa as well as in Asia.  As for the “One Village, One Product Campaign,” please take a look at the leaflets later, which we have prepared and are available in this conference hall.

The importance of efforts in Aid for Trade is recognized once again in the current economic downturn. On this occasion of the Second Global Review meeting, it is crucial for us to reaffirm our commitment to Aid for Trade.

In this regard, today I am pleased to announce, on behalf of my government, the “Development Initiative for Trade 2009” as our new strategy for Aid for Trade.

Under this new initiative, firstly, Japan will provide 12 billion US dollars through bilateral assistance for trade-related projects from 2009 to 2011. Japan will also provide technical assistance over the same period for 40 thousand persons in total in the field of trade-related activities,

Secondly, in our effort to keep trade open, Japan will initiate an overall review of the GSP, the Generalized System of Preference.

Thirdly, Japan will implement our commitment in trade finance, as promised at the G20 London Summit meeting and on other occasions, because the needs in this field are still important for facilitating exports by developing countries. We will also work hard for the further improvement of the implementation of Aid for Trade.

Having said that, I would like to point out that Japan will implement this new Initiative for developing countries through a tailor-made approach and paying due consideration to the ownership of each country. For example, Japan intends to pay due attention to the socio-economic conditions of each developing country, including poverty, environment and gender aspects, as well as to the concept of “right place and the right product,” which relates to our “One Village, One Product Campaign.”

Japan will intensify its efforts for Aid for Trade through this new Initiative. However, in order to enlarge developing countries’ trade volume, we highly hope for a conclusion of the Doha Round.  A successful outcome of the Doha Round would bring benefits to all member countries, in particular to developing members. Therefore, I would like to stress that the synergy between the conclusion of the Doha Round and the promotion of Aid for Trade would enable us to overcome the current turmoil and to get back on track for growth. Lastly, I would like to reiterate that Japan intends to further engage in the Aid for Trade process, in cooperation with all member countries and related organizations.

Thank you for your attention.