The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has underlined the key role of trade in helping Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) to achieve their developmental goals, ahead of the Fifth United Nations Conference on LDC5 taking place in Doha, Qatar, from 5-9 March.
Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang will deliver the WTO’s message at several events during the conference, while the WTO will co-organise a number of sessions with other international organisations to discuss LDCs’ trade priorities.
At a high-level thematic round table entitled “Enhancing the participation of LDCs in international trade and regional integration” on 7 March, DDG Zhang will contribute his insights to the discussion, while he will also speak at a thematic roundtable on 9 March entitled “Supporting Sustainable and Irreversible Graduation from the Least Developed Country Category”.
DDG Zhang will join the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and over 30 UN principals on the eve of the Conference to explore ways for the international community to better support LDCs’ economic growth and development over the next decade.
This engagement between the WTO and the UN reflects a shared objective to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth, particularly in the world’s poorest countries.
The WTO’s partners at the Conference include the Enhanced Integrated Framework, the International Trade Centre, and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), among others.
This reflects the broad-based support that the WTO has garnered in its efforts to help LDCs achieve their development goals through enhanced trade participation.
The WTO’s participation in the LDC5 conference is timely, given the ongoing challenges facing LDCs as they seek to integrate more fully into the global trading system.
Despite recent progress in some areas, many LDCs continue to face structural barriers to trade, including high tariffs, non-tariff measures, and inadequate infrastructure. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these challenges, placing additional pressure on LDCs’ already fragile economies.
To address these challenges, the WTO has been working with LDCs to develop trade-related initiatives that can help to unlock their full potential. This includes initiatives such as the Enhanced Integrated Framework, which aims to help LDCs develop trade capacity and competitiveness, and the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which seeks to streamline customs procedures and reduce trade costs.
In addition, the WTO has been focusing on promoting digital trade opportunities for LDCs, which could help to overcome some of the challenges associated with physical infrastructure. For example, the WTO’s new note on the opportunities and challenges that digital trade brings to LDCs provides a valuable resource for policymakers seeking to leverage the benefits of e-commerce and other digital technologies.
Overall, the WTO’s participation in the LDC5 conference underscores its commitment to helping LDCs achieve their developmental goals through enhanced trade participation. By working closely with its partners in the international community, the WTO can help to create a more inclusive and sustainable trading system that benefits all countries, particularly those that are most in need.