In the roundtable entitled “Enhancing the participation of LDCs in international and regional trade”, DDG Zhang noted that market access opportunities, policy flexibilities and targeted trade support are among the steps that WTO members have taken to help LDCs become more active players in global trade. He encouraged LDCs to remain focused on their trade interests as the global trading landscape evolves.

The discussion was co-chaired by the President of Burundi, Évariste Ndayishimiye, and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. Speakers included Cambodia's Minister of Commerce, Pan Sorasak, the Netherlands' Vice-Minister for International Cooperation, Kitty van der Heijden, Deputy Secretary-General Pedro Manuel Moreno of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Professor Marcelo Olarreaga from the University of Geneva.

President Ndayishimiye said: “While LDCs continue to face many challenges, progress has also been made to create an enabling environment for their integration into global trade. It is clear that we need more actions from all stakeholders if we are to achieve the goals we set in the Doha Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

“Trade remains a key driver of development for graduating and graduated LDCs,” Prime Minister Hasina stated. “Ensuring smooth and sustainable graduation would require well designed international support measures.”

Sharing Cambodia's experience with regional and global integration initiatives, Minister Pan said: “Our efforts are part of overarching government policies for boosting and sustaining economic growth by promoting economic diversification, and it obviously links to our long term LDC graduation strategy.” He stressed the need to extend LDC trade preferences to countries after they graduate from LDC status to help them meet their development objectives.

Many speakers highlighted the importance of digital trade to LDCs' economic development. “Trade in tomorrow’s economy will be green and digital. It has the potential to boost innovation, create jobs and tackle inequalities. It is crucial that we modernize the WTO,” said Vice-Minister van der Heijden.,

More information about the WTO's participation in the LDC5 Conference is available here.




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