Mainstreaming International Trade into National Development Strategy: A Pilot Project in Bangladesh and India

7-8 February 2007, Kolkata

Inception Workshop

International trade is increasingly considered as a major mean to reduce poverty in developing countries. This is evident from various estimates that economists have put forward: showing benefits that would accrue to the poor following successful conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations under the World Trade organisation. This may be true at a macro level, but will it be equally true at local levels? Will pro-development outcomes of trade negotiations at the international level lead to pro-poor growth outcomes at the local level?

There is no ready answer to these questions. However, evidence from the implementation of the Uruguay round of trade liberalization shows that while some sectors/countries benefited, a large section of the poor were either left behind or adversely affected. One reason for this is that international trade looked at through the prism of WTO rules and procedures is mercantilist in its approach. The human element is missing. Though the Doha Development Agenda mentioned about mainstreaming trade into national development strategy, there is hardly any coherent and cogent initiative to do so at the country level.

Given the above-stated background, CUTS CITEE is implementing the project titled “Mainstreaming International Trade into National Development Strategy: A Pilot Project in Bangladesh and India” with the support of Royal Norwegian Embassy, New Delhi, India. Over a period of two years, this project will be built through scientific consolidation and expansion of the need-based and demand driven agenda for mainstreaming, international trade into national development strategies of two South Asian countries, viz, Bangladesh and India