Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries

The Sub-Committee on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is mandated to look at systemic issues of interest to LDCs in the multilateral trading system. It is subsidiary to the Committee on Trade and Development. The current chair of the Sub-Committee is .

The Sub-Committee implements the WTO Work Programme for the LDCs, focusing in particular on market access, technical assistance and WTO accessions.

In the area of market access, the Sub-Committee carries out reviews of trends in LDC trade, based on LDC market access reports prepared annually by the WTO Secretariat. Furthermore, the Sub-Committee considers notifications by members on their preference schemes for LDCs and follows developments in preferential rules of origin.

The Sub-Committee monitors technical assistance and capacity-building initiatives for LDCs. It regularly discusses the technical assistance provided by the WTO and the latest activities of initiatives such as the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), which aims to help LDCs integrate trade into their national development strategies.

The Sub-Committee monitors the state of play in the accession working parties of LDCs. The guidelines on LDC accessions (adopted in 2002 and 2012) were developed in the Sub-Committee; these guidelines play an important role in facilitating the accession of LDCs to the WTO.

In addition, the Sub-Committee periodically monitors the implementation of the trade-related elements of the UN Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs for 2011-2020, thereby contributing to the international community's support of LDCs' sustainable development.

The WTO recognizes as LDCs those countries designated as such by the United Nations. There are at present 46 LDCs on the UN list, 35 of which are members of the WTO. Eight LDCs are in the process of joining the WTO. They are Bhutan, Comoros, Ethiopia, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Timor-Leste.

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Work and documents in the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries

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Documents of the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries use the code WT/COMTD/LDC/* or WT/COMTD/LLDC/* (where * takes additional values).
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  • Annual reports of the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries and the Committee on Trade and Development to the General Council (Document code WT/COMTD/* and keyword “report” and “Committee on Trade and Development”)  > search
  • Minutes of the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries to the General Council (Document code WT/COMTD* and M and (LDC or LLDC))  > search
  • Working documents of the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries to the General Council (Document code WT/COMTD* and W and (LDC or LLDC))    > search
  • General documents of the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries (Document code WT/COMTD/LDC/*)  > search

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