Market access sticking point as landlocked countries prepare for UN meeting
8 August 2003 – Improving landlocked countries’ access to export markets remains a point of contention in the run-up to a United Nations meeting aimed at seeking solutions to the special problems faced by nations without access to seaports.
“It is important for countries to recognize the need for preferential trade access for the geographically handicapped landlocked countries. We want the fellow transit developing countries to be more supportive,” said Anwarul Chowdhury, the UN High Representative of the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
He was speaking at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday, the last day of a meeting held in preparation for the ministerial-level Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation.
To be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 28 to 29 August, the Conference is expected to negotiate systemic improvements for countries without access to the sea through cooperation with transit nations – those situated between landlocked countries and the seas – donors and multilateral agencies.
A draft of the final outcome text states that “lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets” have contributed to high poverty rates in the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and “the very high transport costs, which they must bear, constrain export development.”
Observers have also noted reluctance, among some developing countries, to promote relatively open market access for selected groups of disadvantaged countries with very small export capacities. In turn, developing countries with greater export potential must contend with higher barriers.
“The draft Almaty Programme of Action is in good shape overall, and I believe with the cooperation of all partners we will emerge with a meaningful outcome,” Mr. Chowdhury, who will also serve as Secretary-General of the Conference, stated.
Conference is a system-wide
UN undertaking, organized
by the Office of
the High Representative
with the support
and active participation
of the UN Conference
on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD), the UN
(UNDP), the World
Bank and the UN regional