India remained the second largest recipient of WTO Aid-for-Trade in 2009, receiving assistance of over $1.5 billion, even as global commitments to create physical and institutional infrastructure to multiply trade opportunities shot up to $ 40 billion, says a study.
The report was jointly prepared by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Trade Organisation.
It was released on Monday.
"Asia now ranks as the second largest regional recipient, with $15.4 billion (38 per cent of total flows)," it said.
However, Aid-for-Trade flows to India declined in 2009 from a high of $3.4 billion in 2008.
"So far, Vietnam has received maximum assistance under AfT, while its other leading beneficiaries include Uganda, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and China, among others," it added.
AfT was conceived at the WTO's sixth ministerial meeting in Hong Kong with an aim to help countries facing structural and capacity-building constraints.
"AfT is acting as a catalyst for the private sector and it remains unaffected by the global crisis," said Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, WTO's deputy director general.
"Private sector must play a dominant role in AfT projects in infrastructure and logistics," she added.
Ahead of the third global AfT review at the WTO, beginning Wednesday, the report attempts to showcase the positive spin-offs arising from the growing commitments to prioritising trade-related infrastructure.
"In 2009, Aid-for-Trade commitments reached approximately $40 billion, a 60 per cent increase from the 2002-05 baseline period," the report said and suggested that 'other official flows doubled, reaching $51 billion in 2009, a likely reflection of the donor response to the global economic crisis.'
Even as Doha Development Agenda negotiations remain inconclusive and Europe faces a financial crisis, it said, "Disbursements have been increasing at a constant growth rate of between 11-12 per cent for each year since 2006, reaching $29 billion in 2009, indicating that past commitments are being met."
With the industrialised countries caught in grave fiscal and budgetary crises, the South-South assistance for AfT offers a window of opportunity, the WTO official said, adding that capacity building and creating new physical infrastructure is essential to realise the advantages of trade liberalisation.