India was the top beneficiary of trade aid from developed economies in 2020

India was the top beneficiary of trade aid from developed economies in 2020
Photo: Eduardo Munoz (Reuters)
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

At $2.7 billion, India received the largest amount of funding from developed countries in 2020 under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Air for Trade programme. Bangladesh was the second-largest beneficiary.

The amount India received accounted for 4% of the total disbursement in 2020, according to a report (pdf) published by the WTO and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This was, however, lower than the $3.9 billion it received in 2019.

Trade experts, meanwhile, drew attention to the possibility that India being part of several bilateral trade arrangements may have led to an inaccurate estimation of the aid it received under the WTO’s aegis.

The WTO’s Aid for Tr provides aid every year to less developed countries to build capacities and infrastructure so that they can better participate in international trade.

In 2020, WTO’s trade commitments, or the donor’s intent to deploy aid, rose by 18 to an all-time high of $64.6 billion. However, actual disbursement stood at $48.7 billion.

WTO’s aid helped during Covid-19 and the Ukraine war

Aid for Trade helped mitigate the impact of the covid-19 outbreak in 2020 and the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022.

“The recent crises have reaffirmed the importance of aid for trade to support economic resilience and to preserve global commons such as health, environment or food security,” the report said. “...This calls for a renewed ambition for the global initiative and individual aid for trade strategies to expand their scope and better articulate trade-capacity building with other sustainability promotion efforts.”

In 2020, WTO allocated $4.7 billion towards Covid-19-related activities, translating to 7% of the overall disbursement. Banking and financial services received up to 50% of the overall aid, followed by energy (18%) and agriculture, forestry and fishing activities (18%), according to the report.