At the workshop, LDC members and trade experts discussed how to deepen the link between trade and development and how to strengthen LDCs' participation in the WTO's work.

“We are well aware that LDCs' participation in global trade remains below 1 per cent,” the Chair of the Sub-Committee on LDCs Ambassador Erik Brøgger Rasmussen (Denmark) stressed. “It is our shared responsibility to map out what more the international community can achieve to support a greater integration of LDCs into the multilateral trading system. An evolving trading landscape opens new horizons, offers new trade opportunities and brings new hope for people living in LDCs and beyond,” he said.

“The WTO was created to improve people's lives,” stated Ambassador Kadra Ahmed Hassan of Djibouti, Coordinator of the WTO's LDC Group. “While some progress has been made to support LDCs in benefitting from global trade opportunities, we are yet to see the desired impact. We need to do more to help LDCs fully realize their trade potential,” she added.

A number of speakers presented the key findings from a study on the link between trade and development for LDCs. The topics covered included the need for transparency of trade policies and practices and the importance of monitoring trade data. Emerging trade topics of potential interest to LDCs, including opportunities offered by digital trade, were also covered. Representatives from the WTO Chairs in Nepal and Senegal shared their experiences with trade-related academic activities in their respective countries.

The discussions brought to the fore the need for more targeted support aimed at increasing LDCs' integration into the multilateral trading system. Better compliance with social and environmental standards can positively contribute to increasing LDC exports, speakers said. Suggestions were also made on how LDCs could participate more effectively in the WTO's regular work.

Speakers noted that LDCs' awareness of trading opportunities could be improved if they intensified their use of digital tools, including the WTO's notification portals and the trade concerns database. It was also highlighted that greater coordination between LDC delegations in Geneva and in capitals was necessary to support an effective participation of small delegations in WTO's work. Participating in different initiatives pursued by WTO members, ranging from investment facilitation for development to support to small businesses also featured among the recommendations.

The event was co-organized by the WTO Secretariat and the Enhanced Integrated Framework. It formed part of the 2023 Annual Conference of the WTO Chairs Programme.

More information about the workshop can be found here.




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