Trade and investment for sustainable development

Project description

Title: Sector project: trade and investment for sustainable development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


Trade is considered key to sustainable economic growth and prosperity. In turn, products that are particularly technology-intensive and generate a considerable degree of added value are regarded as dynamic elements of global trade. However, many developing countries are unable to participate in international trade in a way that achieves the anticipated positive results for employment and poverty reduction. Crucial factors here include the way in which international rules relating to trade are structured, uniform policies in developing countries and industrialised countries (policy coherence) as well as structural requirements in the developing countries. Consequently, Germany’s activities are primarily guided by the cross-sectoral strategy of trade-related development cooperation, entitled Free and fair trade as a driver for development – The German strategy for Aid for Trade.


Trade is a cross-cutting issue that is structurally embedded in the policy-making and portfolio design of German development cooperation, and development issues are integrated into trade policy . Opportunities for employment and economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies through trade are being used more intensively, and potential negative impacts are being countered in a targeted manner.


Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Trade and Investment for Sustainable Development sector project has been in existence since 2002 and operates in two closely connected fields of activity: advising BMZ on development-oriented trade policy and approaches, and instruments for implementing trade-related development cooperation.


With the support of the project, BMZ has made successful contributions to a number of international processes and discussions. These include the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, further negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), as well as the extension of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for least developed countries.

Innovative approaches to various trade issues have been tested and disseminated by German development cooperation projects. For instance, the sector project has contributed to the design of two projects that help developing countries to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The project has also provided advice on trade facilitation in Central Asia and Mozambique. 

The wide-ranging work of the project helps partner countries to make better use of trade potential for their economic and social development.

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