Special and differential treatment

Stronger support for development


The WTO agreements contain special provisions which give developing countries special rights and allow other members to treat them more favourably. These are ôspecial and differential treatment provisionsö (abbreviated as S&D or SDT). The special provisions include:

  • longer time periods for implementing agreements and commitments
  • measures to increase trading opportunities for these countries
  • provisions requiring all WTO members to safeguard the trade interests of developing countries
  • support to help developing countries build the infrastructure to undertake WTO work, handle disputes, and implement technical standard
  • provisions related to least-developed country (LDC) members

In the Doha Declaration, ministers agreed that all special and differential treatment provisions should be reviewed, in order to strengthen them and make them more precise, effective and operational.



Numerous proposals were made by developing and least-developed countries. Most proposals came from the African Group and the group of least-developed countries. They usually identify parts of an agreement and suggest new wording to introduce new S&D provisions for developing countries or to strengthen existing ones. They relate to most WTO agreements, including the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the GATT and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).


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