The chair urged all members that grant preferential treatment to LDCs to examine how they can further facilitate market access for LDC exports. She said the aim should be to produce some concrete outcomes on LDC priorities at the WTO's upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12).

The WTO Secretariat reported on the annual review undertaken by the Committee on Rules of Origin on efforts by preference-granting members to ensure that preferential rules of origin for imports from LDCs are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access. The Secretariat also reported on LDC trade statistics and LDC preference utilization in the first half of 2021, highlighting a webinar on preference utilization and the factors that drive trade preferences that took place on 19 May 2021.

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) outlined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global tourism and highlighted its recommendations to LDCs. In 2020, the tourism industry globally saw a decline of 73% in international tourist arrivals, a loss of US$ 1.1 trillion in revenue, and an estimated loss in global GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion. The UNWTO recommended promoting the transition to “green” tourism through six action points as set out in the One Planet Vision for a Responsible Recovery of the Tourism Sector. More than 40 countries have implemented the UNWTO economic recovery technical assistance package as an immediate response to the pandemic.

The WTO's Accessions Division highlighted the state of play in the accession of LDCs. It has commissioned a study to assess the impact of WTO accession for nine LDCs that have joined the WTO since 2004. This is expected to provide lessons for the ongoing accessions. The Secretariat also reported on upcoming activities relevant to LDC accessions, such as the Trade for Peace (T4P) initiative, which looks at how WTO accession can help to promote peace and security.

An upcoming South-South Dialogue on 16‑17 September (implemented by the Development Division) will discuss possible MC12 deliverables, and the 10th China Roundtable on 28-29 November will provide an opportunity to take stock of support to LDC accessions through the China Programme.

On behalf of the LDC Group, Chad called for maximum flexibility and technical support to be afforded to LDCs in the accession process. The European Union and the United States reiterated their support to countries seeking accession to the WTO, especially LDCs.

The Sub-Committee also received a report from the coordinator of the LDC Group on its retreat on 14-16 June, where participants discussed LDC priorities for work in the WTO leading up to MC12. These priorities include strengthening and implementing existing WTO decisions in favour of LDCs, such as the service waiver, resolving issues regarding graduation from LDC status and improving access to vaccines. The retreat also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on LDC trade.

Ambassador Van Daalen provided her farewell remarks as chair. The Director of the Development Division, Shishir Priyadarshi, and LDC Group Coordinator, Ambassador Ahmad Makaila of Chad, paid tribute to her contributions to the cause of LDCs.




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