Aid for Trade: Helping developing countries to achieve prosperity through trade and investment

Aid for Trade: Helping developing countries to achieve prosperity through trade and investment


Today the Commission has set out a renewed vision on how to help developing countries fight poverty and create more and better jobs through trade and investment.

The updated "Aid for Trade" Strategy 2017 builds on 10 years of EU Aid for Trade assistance and aims to strengthen and modernise EU support to partner countries. The new Communication adopted today sets out ways the Commission can improve and better target its aid for trade. It puts a strong focus on Least Developed Countries, and countries in situations of fragility.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "Together the European Union and its Member States are already the biggest supporters of aid for trade worldwide. We are setting out a new strategy to better respond to the complex challenges of today and increase the impact of our actions – to reduce poverty, boost sustainable economic growth and most importantly to ensure that it leaves no one behind."

Globally the EU and its Member States are the biggest provider of Aid for Trade. In 2015 alone, EU commitments amounted to a record €13.16 billion per year.

What's new in the Aid for Trade Strategy 2017?

The Communication proposes to:

  • Better combine and coordinate tools for development finance of aid for trade, both at European and national level.
  • Improve synergies with other instruments, such as EU trade agreements, trade schemes or the EU's innovative External Investment Plan, which will support investments for sustainable development. One of the aims is to support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in benefitting more.
  • Strengthen social and environmental sustainability, together with inclusive economic growth. This will be done for example through increased stakeholder-engagement such as structured dialogue with the private sector, civil society and local authorities.
  • Better target least developed and fragile countries, as well as tailoring approaches to individual countries' specificities.


Today's new Aid for Trade Communication builds on the 2007 EU Strategy on Aid for Trade. It sets out ways in which the EU can improve the effectiveness of the 2007 Joint EU Strategy on Aid for Trade, which was a joint European response to the efforts led by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

For More Information

Commission Communication updating the 2007 Joint EU Strategy on Aid for Trade

More information on Aid for Trade