Office of Trade & Regulatory Reform

USAID helps to address inefficient and inadequate transportation, logistics and trade-related infrastructure, institutional capacity and policies that can severely impede a country’s ability to compete on a global scale.

The world’s least developed countries comprise 12 percent of the global population but currently account for less than one percent of global trade. USAID helps countries and citizens globally create markets, foster regional connections, and hone their business skills. This raises competitiveness, diversifies the economic base, and promotes food security – ultimately providing a path for countries to end poverty and ensure well-being for all.

Our Work

Trade and investment are powerful engines that create jobs and drive economic growth. USAID’s Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform (TRR) within the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment works with governments and the private sector in developing countries to reform and modernize their markets – helping businesses form, grow, connect and engage in commerce. TRR provides valuable expertise, guidance, and practical approaches aimed at stimulating countries to become more competitive, realize and seize opportunities, and form strong private sector connections. The office focuses on transparency in crafting and updating of laws and regulations and encourages the adoption and application of international standards to promote economic growth.

Strategy and Program Focus

In response to rapidly changing economic trends, including the rise of eCommerce, TRR recently released a new USAID Trade Capacity Building Policy. The TCB Policy highlights the critical linkages between trade and development and addresses the complexity and challenges of helping developing countries link to global value chains. USAID supports trade agreement implementation, facilitates trade flows, and enhances responsiveness to shifting economic dynamics.

USAID, through TRR, is particularly focused on trade facilitation, which helps businesses move goods across borders, while governments are able to ensure the safety and security for goods and people. Through trade facilitation capacity building, the process of transporting goods from the seller to the buyer across national borders is simplified, and there is better coordination among the involved government agencies.


Investing in trade capacity building can have a powerful impact on the economic fortunes of a developing country. One evaluation (From Aid to Trade: Delivering Results) estimated for every dollar spent on USAID assistance, a $42 increase in the value of a country’s exports followed within two years.

Under Trade Africa, USAID helped to decrease the average time to trade goods across borders along the Northern Corridor (from Mombasa Kenya to Kampala Uganda) from 18 days in 2013 to 4 days in 2014 – a 77 percent reduction. From 2011-2013, USAID’s East Africa Trade and Investment Hub increased shoe exports to the United States 30-fold, and since 2009, it has facilitated over $250 million in total exports to the United States, and assisted nearly 400 firms to grow their export business.

Our Partners

TRR recently launched a significant partnership with international and local businesses to promote trade reform. USAID provided critical leadership in forming the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) to support implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, the first agreement reached by the entire WTO membership. The GATF brings together donor countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Australia with private companies to eliminate barriers to trade and to create better business environments. Private sector members of the GATF include the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum, and the Center for International Private Enterprise, as well as firms such as Fiat Chrysler, Maersk, DHL, FedEx, United Parcel Service, and Walmart.

TRR serves as an important bridge in networking the developing world with global private sector producers and consumers. TRR is currently exploring new partnerships to support USAID’s eCommerce, gender, environment and labor development goals. TRR’s efforts contribute to moving millions out of poverty and producing a better quality of life.

For More Information 

  • Contact our Office Director: Virginia Brown
  • Follow us on Twitter @USAIDEconomic

Last updated: November 04, 2016

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