Trade and Regulatory Reform

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USAID supports countries’ efforts to achieve sustained and broad-based economic growth—creating opportunities for people to lift themselves, their families, and their societies out of poverty, away from violent extremism and instability, and toward a more prosperous future.

In order to fully benefit from economic growth, developing countries must be able to take advantage of the opportunities created by trade. To do so, they must:

  • Strengthen economic policies
  • Remove trade barriers
  • Build well-functioning economic, political, and legal institutions
  • Improve regulatory policies that affect the way firms compete
  • Improve private sector operating practices and strategies

USAID facilitates improvements in country trading systems and helps build capacity for trade. USAID’s Strategy, Building Trade Capacity in the Developing World, outlines the agency's approach to integrating developing countries into the international trading system.

USAID also promotes improvements in country commercial legal and regulatory systems; and works with developing countries and countries in transition to identify and reduce the barriers that inhibit business formation and growth.

The Agency’s programs help countries lower the costs and risks of doing business by improving the enabling environment through a wide range of assistance, related to improving commercial legal systems and improving business regulation. Activities focus on reforming laws and regulations, reducing compliance costs for businesses and individuals, and ensuring implementation and enforcement capacity. 

Some of the results achieved include:

  • USAID has assisted more than 28 countries in integrating to the world trading system through admittance to the World Trade Organization; including many countries in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, plus others such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nepal.
  • USAID recently launched the Partnership for Trade Facilitation, which is working with 17 countries to respond quickly to requests for assistance from trade and customs authorities for help with implementing aspects of the proposed WTO agreement on trade facilitation.
  • USAID has helped countries around the world, including Egypt, Rwanda, and Macedonia, reform their business enabling environment to stimulate economic growth. USAID projects have helped approximately 50 percent of the top Doing Business reformers around the world, resulting in cost savings to businesses—both for host-country firms as well as foreign ones, including U.S. firms that export to these markets.

For more on our trade-related work, see USAID's Trade and Investment page

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Last updated: October 07, 2013

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