Technical assistance under WTO Agreements

Several WTO Agreements contain provisions on technical assistance to LDCs:

  • General Agreement on Trade in Services:Technical assistance by WTO Secretariat in the Preparation & Application of GATS Measures (Art. XXV.2; Technical assistance by WTO Members in the Preparation & Application of GATS Measures; Technical Cooperation in the Preparation & Application of improving Telecommunications with Developed Countries
  • The Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures contains provisions on technical assistance by Members and the WTO Secretariat. LDCs have priority for technical assistance (article 9.1). The Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) has a target of dedicating at least 40% of total project financing allocated to LDCs or other low-income countries (OLICs).  There is also a lower co-financing requirement for technical assistance. The minimum required contribution from LDCs and OLICS is 10%, as opposed to 20% for lower middle-income countries and 60% for upper middle-income countries (STDF Operational Rules).
  • Technical cooperation to implement the Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs)
  • Legal advice and assistance in respect of dispute settlement to developing country Members, pursuant to Article 27.2 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, with priority attention to LDCs.
  • Technical Assistance by the WTO Secretariat under the Trade-Policy Review Mechanism:  Under Section D, “Reporting,” of the Uruguay Round Agreement on the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM), particular account shall be taken of difficulties presented to least-developed country Members in compiling their reports.  The Secretariat shall make available technical assistance on request to developing country Members, and in particular to the least-developed country Members. Information contained in reports should to the greatest extent possible be coordinated with notifications made under provisions of the Multilateral Trade Agreements and, where applicable, the Plurilateral Trade Agreements.
  • A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) has been created to deliver support to LDCs and developing countries so that they may fully benefit from the TFA.
  • LDCs are to be given priority in technical assistance under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

For more information, see WTO/EIF (2020), “Trade impacts of LDC graduation“.