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.  The WTO´s Database on Preferential Trade...

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

Progress of African LDCs in IPoA priority areas

At the 52nd Session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (March 20-26, 2019), the Committee of Experts assessed progress of African LDCs in...

Empower Women, Power Trade – a new EIF initiative in LDCs

A new initiative led by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), ‘Empower Women, Power Trade’, aims at shaping policy and bringing women in LDCs into decision-making bodies...

New strategic plan for the EIF, 2019-2022

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), which is dedicated to addressing the trade capacity needs of LDCs, has a new strategic plan for the period...

EU launches procedure to temporarily suspend trade preferences to Cambodia

The European Union announced on February 11, 2019, that it would start the "process that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia's preferential access to...

Prospects of LDCs meeting graduation criteria by 2030

"Prospects of Least Developed Countries meeting the graduation criteria by 2030" by Namsuk Kim, published under the CDP Policy Review Series, shows that fourteen countries...