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 – Services waiver

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 and flexibilities 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

The challenge of services growth in least developed countries

Daniel Gay In Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, a roadside stall sells drinks, fruit and mobile phone top-up cards. Half a dozen pairs of trousers...

Zero draft of the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs for 2022-2031 released

On July 12 the co-chairs of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), Bangladesh and Canada, released the zero draft of...

CDP Member Debapriya Bhattacharya on TRIPS, LDCs, graduation

On July 10, CDP member Debapriya Bhattacharya held a conversation with media on the WTO decision on the extension of the Trade Related Aspects...

The need directly to target sustainable productive capacity in least developed countries

30 July 2021. By Daniel Gay. Covid-19 uncovered an uncomfortable truth. International support for least developed countries (LDCs), though welcome and contributing to some success,...

WTO members agree to extend TRIPS transition period for LDCs until 1 July 2034

30 June 2021. From the WTO: WTO members agreed to extend until 1 July 2034 the deadline for least developed countries (LDCs) to protect intellectual...