expansion adds 70 million potential new customers to the market for world's
most vulnerable countries
The addition of 10 new EU members would further aid LDCs that have been benefiting for the last several years from duty-free, quota-free market access allowed under the 2001 "Everything But Arms" initiative of the EU. With the increase of EU members from 15 to 25, the total EU population -- and potential market - now reaches 450 million.
Mr. Chowdhury, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, urged the LDCs to take full advantage of this new preferential market access, and called on EU members and multilateral bodies and organizations to move swiftly to support the capacity of the LDCs to do so.
The implications of the EU expansion were discussed by USG Chowdhury last week with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, at an LDC Trade Ministers Meeting in Dakar, Senegal. The UN's High Representative on LDCs expressed appreciation to Mr. Lamy for the EU's continued understanding of the needs of these countries, and his hope that the recently announced decision of the Union's Agriculture Ministers to reduce markedly their agricultural subsidies would help the export of agricultural products by the LDCs.
Reacting to today's
announcement by the EU that it is willing to negotiate a complete cessation
of export-linked subsidies on farm products, USG Chowdhury says that it
provides "more good news for the world's most vulnerable countries,
as well as all nations participating in and benefiting from international
trade." In the past, he has spoken out in particular against rich-country
subsidies on cotton, which hold down the prospects of farmers and rural
communities in west and central Africa.