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

At WTO Public Forum: graduating LDCs in an evolving WTO

Working session at the WTO Public Forum, October 8, 2019 (16:00-17:30), organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Centre for Policy Dialogue: Graduating least-developed countries...

The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement – what is expected of LDCs in...

The fifty-five member states of the Africa Union (AU) are establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to create a single continent-wide market...

4 LDCs promote launch of World Cotton Day

20 August 2019. At the initiative of the C-4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), the WTO will host the launch of World Cotton...

New fund for LDC participation in WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations

17 May 2019. The WTO Director-General announced on May 3, 2019, the creation of a fund to enable the participation of capital-based delegations from...

REX digital system for LDC exporters and EU importers

13 May 2019.  Started in 2017, the Registered Export System (REX) is an electronic system used to certify the origin of products from developing...