Industry, Logistics & Shipping

LDC exports hit hard by pandemic: WTO report

While least-developed countries (LDCs) have benefited over the past 10 years from greater market access opportunities, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to greater challenges for these countries, hitting their exports hard, said the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a new report.

The publication launched on January 19 highlights that further support will be needed from the international community in the next decade to strengthen LDC participation in world trade.

The report titled "Boosting trade opportunities for least-developed countries" reviews the progress made over the past decade to help LDCs further integrate into the global trading system.

The volatility of commodity prices over the past ten years and the onset of the Covid-19 crisis caused LDCs' share of global exports to shrink to 0.91 per cent in 2020, compared with 0.95 per cent in 2011. The global goal of the United Nations aimed at doubling the LDC export share by 2020 is yet to be met.   

"Increasing LDC participation in global trade is a shared objective of the international community. The WTO offers LDCs a unique opportunity to shape global trade rules that respond to their trade interests,” said Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“This report has illustrated the tangible benefits that LDCs working closely with WTO members have achieved over the past ten years. It is important to build on what we have achieved so far and make sure that trade continues to boost economic growth in LDCs and worldwide in the next decade and beyond.”

The report notes that LDCs' participation in global trade can be strengthened by furthering preferential market access for LDC exports of goods and services. It also highlights the importance of longer timeframes for LDCs to implement WTO rules, including for trade-related aspects of intellectual property. Support from development partners will also be crucial to sustain the development efforts of economies graduating from LDC status.

"Trade was an important element of the Programme of Action for LDCs adopted in Istanbul and remains one of the priority areas for LDCs in the next decade. We hope to strengthen our partnership with international organizations to ensure a successful implementation of the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs to be adopted at the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs,” said Heidi Schroderus-Fox, Director of the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

This report is the WTO's contribution to the LDC5 Conference originally scheduled for January 23-27 but postponed due to recent Covid-19 developments. One of the main objectives of the rescheduled LDC5 Conference is to adopt a Programme of Action for LDCs for the decade 2022-2031. – TradeArabia News Service