Achievements and Challenges of Trade Capacity Building: A Practitioner's Analysis of the CAFTA Process and its Lessons for the Multilateral System

Oct 2005
In policy circles and intellectual centers throughout the world, there is considerable debate on how to make globalization "work" for smaller, poorer, and otherwise disadvantaged countries. The challenges and potential solutions have manifested themselves in a myriad of ways, from the declarations of the Monterrey Summit on Trade and Development to policy papers on reform of the "global financial architecture". On the trade front, the World Trade Organization (WTO) launched the Doha Development Agenda in Qatar in November 2001, which sought, among other things, to give the challenges of capacity and "systemic fairness" a central role in the policy discussion. Differing levels of trade capacity and the attendant consequences have also become issues in various regional trade initiatives, particularly in the Americas.

Developing countries are quite correct in pointing out that the quantity of non-reimbursable resources relative the countries┬┐ needs is presently very small. The great challenge in the years ahead is to find efficient ways to close this gap. Undoubtedly, the institutional and governmental partners that have participated as donors in the IF and CAFTA processes will have an important role to play.