The trade outlook for Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access schemes available for them have been studied by UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAPE). The Analysis revealed several interesting facts. In 2013, Asia-Pacific LDCs’ exports accounted for 0.29% of world export, a small but growing number. Exports are, however, not diversified. Garments and agriculture commodities are important export products. The Asia-Pacific LDCs can export under DFQF schemes to their most important export markets, namely the EU, US, China and India. Besides the developed countries, several developing countries in Asia have set up beneficial market access regimes for LDCs such as China, India and Korea.
The DFQF schemes are useful tools to further integrate LDCs into the world economy. However, benefits will remain limited unless the schemes are tailored to the needs of LDCs. The products included should reflect the LDCs export products and export potential, preferential margins should be substantial, and regulatory issues (e.g. Rules of Origin (RoO)) should be flexible and clear.