Trade is a critical component of the development strategies of LDCs. However, in 2017 LDCs’ share in world merchandise exports remained under 1 per cent and their share of global exports of commercial services in 2017 was 0.6 per cent (WTO Trade Statistical Review, 2018).

The international community has committed to supporting the integration of LDCs into the multilateral trading system and increasing their participation in world markets. Trade-related international support measures include preferential market access for goods, preferential market access for services and service suppliers, special treatment regarding obligations under WTO rules and certain regional agreements, and technical assistance and capacity-building.

Trade-related international support measures for LDCs

Preferential market access for goods

Merchandise exports from LDCs benefit from duty free, quota free market access and from more favourable rules of origin (see also "Basis for preferential treatment...

Preferential market access for services and service suppliers

The main LDC-specific market access preferences in services are those granted under the decision adopted by WTO Members in 2011 known as the “services...

Special treatment under WTO rules

LDCs that are members of the WTO benefit from special considerations in their implementation of WTO agreements. Special and differential treatment (S&D) provisions for...

Special treatment under regional agreements

Certain regional trade agreements contain special provisions for LDCs, including longer or delayed implementation periods, more favourable rules of origin, and others (click on...

Trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building

A number of mechanisms are in place to support LDCs through technical assistance and capacity-building related to trade. Please click on the links below...

LDC Trade - News and analysis

New on the EIF’s Trade4Development: Leaving no one behind – New help for graduating...

Leaving no one behind: New help for graduating least developed countries (Part I) by Daniel Gay. (16 January 2020)

Investment promotion in LDCs: new project by EIF and WAIPA

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) have begun a joint project to build capacities in LDCs...

New on the EIF’s Trade4Development: AfCFTA; LDCs in the global trade turmoil; improved assistance...

The AfCFTA: a free trade area and a flagship project of the African Union, by Trudi Hartzenberg (November 20, 2019) Poorest countries caught in the...

Least Developed Countries Report 2019

UNCTAD's 2019 Least Developed Countries Report addresses financing for development and how LDCs can adapt their development strategies to the current global setting. This includes mobilizing...

In the news: “How Trade Can Assist LDCs Hit by Natural Disasters”

November 5, 2019. Op-ed by Brendan Vickers and Hilary Enos-Edu of the Commonwealth Secretariat, on Trade for Development News by EIF.