The relationship between trade and economic development is complex. However it is widely acknowledged that supported by appropriate policies and efficient public and private institutions, trade openness can become an important driver of development. Trade stimulates economic growth and job creation and thereby helps generate fiscal resources to achieve the objective of poverty reduction. The Government of Sierra Leone's "Agenda for Change" endorses this tenet which forms the backbone of the Government's poverty reduction strategy.

Aid for Trade

Recognising the beneficial impact of increased trade integration on socio-economic development, the European Union has also become a major provider of Aid for Trade worldwide. Aid for Trade is development assistance provided in support a country's efforts to develop its capacity to expand its trade to foster economic growth and more effectively use trade in poverty reduction.

The Aid for Trade concept encompasses a broad range of development interventions:

  • Trade-Related Assistance: i.e. support provided to partner countries for the formulation of trade policies and trade regulations, but also support provided to trade development (investment promotion, market analysis and development, institutional support, etc.). The BizClim FacilityAll available translations. and the TradeCom FacilityAll available translations. presented in this website aim to provide Trade-Related Assistance.

  • Trade-related infrastructure, building productive capacity, trade-related adjustment support also fall under the wider definition of Aid for Trade. This support is generally provided by the European Union through the European Development Fund.

Trade and Development

Through a wide range of measures and policy initiatives, the European Union ensures that its trade policy is placed at the service of development and supports the gradual integration of developing countries into the world economy and the open, rules-based multilateral trading system. Coherence between European trade and development policies is also a standing commitment under the Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) agenda.

Facilitating market access to the European Union for developing countries

Through its trade policy the EU aims to ensure that developing countries are able to benefit from access to its own markets and from the openness of the global economy.

Indeed, the EU has the most open market in the world for developing countries. 98% of exports from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries entered the EU duty and quota-free in 2009. The EU is also the biggest market for developing countries' agricultural exports. Almost 70% of all agricultural imports into the EU come from developing countries. The EU imports more agricultural products from developing countries than the United States and all other developed countries combined.

In order to further facilitate access to the EU market for developing country, the European Commission has developed a free and user-friendly online service, the Export HelpdeskAll available translations., which provides relevant information required by developing country exporters interested in supplying the EU market.
Among other services, the Export Helpdesk provides trade statistics on trade flows to and from the European Union and gives advice on EU import procedures, EU VAT rules and EU rules on excise duties.