Recent studies offer an ambiguous picture on the effectiveness of foreign aid in strengthening the export capacity of recipient countries. Moreover, the literature on aid for trade (AfT) has often neglected that exporters in the donor countries may be among the main beneficiaries. We simultaneously estimate and compare the effects of AfT on trade in both directions. We find that AfT increases recipient exports to donors as well as recipient imports from donors. The first effect tends to dominate the latter, which contradicts the sceptical view that donors grant AfT primarily to promote their own export interests.