While trade has been the engine of growth for countries like Brazil, China, India, and South Africa, Lamy argued that this is only possible where accompanied by transparency, accountability, rule of law, and infrastructure. Trade is the “rescue strategy” from the economic crisis not just for the developing world, he suggested, but for the developed world as well. “I understand why Obama has focused on exports,” he said, arguing that that increasing trade with the developing world was in the “enlightened self interest” of the United States and Europe as well.
The financial crisis has hit both the developed and developing world hard, and Lamy’s comments identify the role that trade could play in foreign assistance policies. “Aid for trade” has been debated for years, recently around the WTO’s Doha round of trade negotiations, yet to be completed, and strong opinions can be found on all sides. With 40 percent of U.S. exports now going to developing countries, this conversation will continue to grow.