European Union External Action

Team Europe - EU and EU Member States - to participate in the WTO Aid for Trade Stocktaking on COVID-19, from 23 to 25 March 2021

18/03/2021 - 00:00
News stories

The EU and its Member States have traditionally been the world’s largest provider of Aid for Trade (€13.5 billion in 2018) and were among the first to react internationally to the pandemic. By the end of 2020, Team Europe – the EU and EU MS acting together – had mobilized over half of the announced €38.5 billion COVID-19 recovery package to support partner countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Team Europe will actively participate with partners in the WTO Aid for Trade Stocktaking event on the impacts of COVID-19, from 23 to 25 March.

The EU and its Members States are the largest provider of Aid for Trade (AfT), responsible for a third of all AfT globally. Acting under the joint Aid for Trade Strategy, in 2018 the EU disbursed EUR 13.5 billion in demand-driven aid, putting needs and priorities of partner countries first.

In 2020, the EU and its Member States were among the first to jump to action in reaction to the dire and special challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. Team Europe was quickly launched, sending the message of European partnership and solidarity to build back better, placing sustainability and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda sustainable development goals into the heart of the recoveryand showing that multilateralism works. Most of all, Team Europe is about pulling resources together and better coordinating, to ensure that collectively together with our partners we achieve the greatest sustainable impact and transformational change. Team Europe is dedicated to acting in solidarity in support of those most vulnerable, including workers, MSMEs, youth and women, while embracing opportunities for a green recovery.

By November 2020, half of the almost €38.5 billion global recovery package to help partners address the COVID-19 pandemic had been disbursed. By February 2021 Team Europe has mobilised over EUR 2 billion in funds from the EU and EU Member States to provide 1.3 billion vaccines through the COVAX Facility for developing countries[1]. Team Europe has to date already helped to start delivering vaccines to Angola, Cambodia, Côte D’Ivoire, Ecuador, EswatiniFiji, GeorgiaGhana,  Jordan, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon IslandsTajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, and Uzbekistan.

Furthermore, increasing the global manufacturing base in developing countries is part of the solution envisaged by Team Europe. In the context of the 2021-2027 multi-annual financial framework (MFF), the European Commission is exploring avenues to strengthen in a long-term approach health systems and scale up local manufacturing of health products and technologies in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), primarily in Africa.

Team Europe, the EU and EU MS, will be actively participating and collaborating with partners in the WTO Aid for Trade Stocktaking event from 23 to 25 March. Team Europe and partner countries and organizations will contribute as providers of aid for trade, as experts, as co-conveners of discussions.


Highlights will include: 


  • 23 March 9:30 am

Recovery through Open Trade – Towards Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Trade Policy Post Covid-19 - jointly organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, CUTS International Geneva, Permanent Mission of Nepal in Geneva and Permanent Mission of Tanzania in Geneva:

The pandemic has shown the importance of free and open trade, not least for developing countries. Trade will be instrumental for sustainable recovery and employment, and for building back better and greener.  Despite the challenge, this can also be an opportunity to build back better through inclusive, resilient and sustainable trade policy. To achieve this, issues to consider are: How do we ensure that trade continues to flow without unnecessary barriers, even in times of crisis? How can resilience be built into trade policy at the national, regional and multilateral levels? How can developing countries benefit from liberalising trade in medical products? How do we ensure that sustainability and gender equality is integrated in initiatives and policy? And, finally, how to support developing and least-developed countries to follow this agenda?

For more information: Recovery through Open Trade: Towards Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Trade Policy Post Covid-19 | CUTS Geneva (

Registration: Webinar registration here


  • 23 March 11 am

The  Head of Unit for Micro-Economic Analysis, Investment Climate, Private Sector, Trade and Employment, Directorate-General of International Partnerships (INTPA) of the European Commission, participates in the session Developing production and supply capacities of medical equipment and pharmaceutical products in LDCs: The role of Aid for Trade.

Registration: Webinar registration here


  • 23 March 3:30pm

 A New Direction for Aid for Trade: Promoting an Inclusive and Green Pandemic Recovery – joint event by Canada, the EU and ITC:  

As attention turns to managing the unprecedented consequences from the COVID-19 economic fallout, national recovery plans will be instrumental for accelerating the transition to a greener and more inclusive future. A bold approach is necessary to make recovery plans work for all, highlighting that some countries, including developing and least-developed countries, have been hit disproportionately hard by the recession, as have certain groups, including women, minorities, youth and persons with disabilities. The recovery will bring multiple opportunities for governments, citizens, businesses and consumers to drive change toward more inclusive and socially responsible production processes in global value chains and consumption patterns. In addition, integrating green objectives in trade policy and in Aid for Trade, can create a catalysing effect for job creation and environmental outcomes. This will require a refining of the Aid for Trade approach, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

This high-level session will discuss the innovative policies and practical solutions needed to building back better for the COVID-19 recovery.


For more information: A New Direction for Aid for Trade: Promoting an Inclusive and Green Pandemic Recovery

Registration: Webinar registration here


  • 24 March 8 am

The Deputy Head of the EU Delegation for the Pacific* participates in Leveraging Pacific Regionalism to support economic recovery and resilience  to present the implications that the new EU/Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Partnership Agreement partnership will produce in the area of trade development in the Pacific, including on Aid-for-Trade programs.

This session will explore regional Aid for Trade approaches in supporting pathways for longer term inclusive economic recovery and resilience in the Pacific, with a particular focus on private sector resilience, open markets and supply chains, revitalising export markets, accessing finance for trade and investment, skills development and job creation, including for women. Themes to be explored in the discussion will include: i) resource mobilisation and implementation of the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy 2020-2025; ii) entry into force of the regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus; iii) uptake of digitisation of trade processes and trade facilitation innovations; iv) targeted e-commerce capacity building; v) labour mobility initiatives; and vi) effective partnerships and donor coordination.

Registration: Webinar registration here


  • 24 March 11 am

COVID-19 Recovery and Aid for Trade – Opportunities for Sustainable Economic Development and Transition to Circular Economy – co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Finland, the Netherlands and Kenya and the ITC in collaboration with the AfDB, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the IEEP.  

The event brings together the perspectives of government, business and academia to discuss the interlinkages between Aid for Trade, sustainable development and recovery after the COVID-19, and transition to Circular Economy and to share experiences and tools available for countries to boost post-COVID-19 recovery, sustainable development and green transition.

Registration:  Webinar registration here


  • 25 March 3:30pm

Strengthening Economic Resilience of the Informal Economy through Aid for Trade policies – hosted by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The informal economy has been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. Strengthening economic resilience in developing countries is essential for building back better. This challenges Aid for Trade policymakers to find ways to better address the issues around the informal economy.

Registration: Webinar registration here






* Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu as well as the three Overseas Countries and Territories in the Pacific.




[1]  This figure is separate from commercial export figures, the EU also being number one supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to the world


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