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Aid for Trade at a Glance 2017

Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development

image of Aid for Trade at a Glance 2017

This edition of Aid for Trade at a Glance focuses on trade connectivity, which is critical for economic growth, inclusiveness and sustainable development. Physical connectivity enables the movement of goods and services to local, regional and global markets. It is closely intertwined with digital connectivity which is vital in today’s trade environment. Yet, the Internet remains inaccessible for 3.9 billion people globally, many of whom live in the least developed countries.

This report builds on the analysis of trade costs and extends it into the digital domain, reflecting the changing nature of trade. It seeks to identify ways to support developing countries – and notably the least developed – in realising the gains from trade. It reviews action being taken by a broad range of stakeholders to promote connectivity for sustainable development, including by governments, their development partners and by the private sector. One message that emerges strongly is that participation in e-commerce requires much more than a simple internet connection.

Chapters were prepared by the World Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Business for eTrade Development.

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Digital connectivity and trade logistics - getting goods shipped, across the border and delivered

Innovations in the digital economy can reduce the costs of engaging in trade and facilitate the physical delivery of traded goods, making trade potentially more inclusive. This chapter examines the opportunities and challenges brought about by digital connectivity and digital trade along the trading chain. It highlights that digital trade for development requires addressing, in addition to digital connectivity, new and old constraints to market integration and physical connectivity. It underscores the importance of efficient trade logistics services and emphasises the need to co-ordinate investments within regions and across hard and soft infrastructure. It then examines progress in cross-border connectivity and gives an update on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Finally, while many opportunities to reduce trade costs arise from digitalisation, the paper highlights that the ability to adapt to the requirements and characteristics of digital trade flows, can influence the ability to realise the full potential for development.

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