UN meeting discusses how to help poorest countries boost their trade

19 November 2008 – Trade and industry ministers from the world's poorest nations are meeting today in Cambodia for a United Nations-backed gathering aimed at helping those countries better integrate their economies into the global trading system.

The two-day meeting will be focused in large part on Aid for Trade, the so-called package of incentives designed to help the world's least developed countries (LDCs) overcome their structural and resource constraints in exchange fore more speedy trade reforms.

Donors and development agencies are also taking part in the ministerial conference, organized jointly by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and being staged in the town of Siem Reap.

Ahead of the conference UNIDO Director General Kandeh Yumkella said in a press release that LDCs face particularly strong challenges to achieving the necessary productive capacity to handle the impact of globalization.

“Our mission is to support our Member States' efforts to become more firmly integrated in the world economy through greater and fairer trade,” Mr. Yumkella said.

UNIDO is trying to assist the LDCs to both boost and diversify their industrial production, thus leading to more international trade and greater prosperity for the poorest citizens of those countries.

Participants at the conference in Siem Reap will also discuss the current Doha round of international trade talks, which are currently stalled but many still hope will eventually lead to more equitable trade rules for the poorest States.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said this week's meeting is taking place at an especially critical time for the global economy.

“The turmoil created by the financial crisis must not distract us from our goal of ensuring that the world's poorest countries have a greater stake in the trading system,” he said.

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