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The Aid for Trade Charade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mark Langan, James Scott

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-161
Number of pages19
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number2
PublishedJun 2014

King's Authors


Aid for Trade (AfT) has gained prominence as an innovative form of donor support in the ‘post’-Washington Consensus. AfT mechanisms have been praised as a means of aligning trade liberalisation deals (whether in the Doha Round or within bilaterals) to poverty reduction objectives. This article, through critical analysis of AfT discourse within the ‘moral economies’ of multilateral World Trade Organization and bilateral European Union–African, Caribbean and Pacific negotiations, points to the strategic purposes of donor language in rationalising asymmetric North–South trade systems. Moreover, it questions the ‘development’ credentials of AfT assistance by examining some of the ensuing private sector activities and the impact on the supposed beneficiaries, and the tying of AfT disbursements to the implementation of inappropriate policies.

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