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

Productive Capacities for the New Decade, side-event at LDC5 Prepcom

Why is productive capacity central to the sustainable development of least developed countries (LDCs)? How can LDCs, with support from development partners, expand their...

Underutilization of trade preferences by LDCs: new note by WTO secretariat

The fifth in a series of notes prepared by the WTO secretariat for the Committee on Rules of Origin, this new note analyses underutilization...

New EIF Policy Brief Series on LDCs and trade

7 May 2021. How can LDCs ensure trade contributes to their economic growth?  The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) has launched a new Policy Brief series...

LDCs and the proposed EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

4 May 2021. The European Union (EU) is in the process of establishing a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), in the context of the...

Smooth transition for graduating LDCs under the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

4 May 2021. Daniel Gay.  It is widely accepted that least developed countries (LDCs) leaving the category need special measures to smooth the transition....