Trade and development

Trade Impacts of LDC Graduation

Graduation from the status of least-developed country (LDC) marks an important milestone in the development path of each LDC. However, the phasing-out of international support measures associated with LDC status could present challenges for graduating LDCs in their efforts to continue to integrate into the global economy. “Trade Impacts of LDC Graduation” examines the implications of graduation in terms of LDCs’ participation in the multilateral trading system, market access opportunities and development assistance.

The report finds that the impact of graduation will vary for each LDC depending on factors such as export structure, use of preferential treatment and its terms of entry into the WTO. It sheds light on potential support measures that graduating LDCs can explore, in cooperation with their trading partners and the broader international development community, in order to achieve sustainable graduation. Trade remains key to helping these countries increase incomes and maintain growth.

A quarter of LDCs were on track to graduate from LDC status prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A companion volume entitled “Trade Impacts of LDC Graduation: Insights from country-specific market access analyses” examines in greater detail the impact of graduation on preferential market access for each of the 12 graduating LDCs. The report looks at the export structure of graduating LDCs, the likely increase in tariffs on their exported products and projected changes in trade flows.

Co-published in 2020 by the World Trade Organization and the Enhanced Integrated Framework.

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