Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are those countries, which according to the United Nations Economic and Social Council have “a low per capita income”, “a low level of human resource development” and “a high degree of economic vulnerability”. LDCs constitute 12% of the world’s population but account for less than 1% of world trade.
Least Developed Countries first presented themselves as a Group to be reckoned with in Cancun in 2003 and followed this up with greater success in Hong Kong in 2005. Currently, the LDC Group is based in Geneva and collectively advocates for and advances the LDC agenda in international forums. Individual LDCs – among the poorest countries in the world, tend to lack negotiation capacity and power.
TMSA, as well as its predecessor – the Regional Trade Facilitation Programme (RTFP), have been supporting the LDC Group since 1995. TMSA is supporting, first and foremost, the mainstreaming of trade into the development policies and development plans of LDCs.
Secondly TMSA is supporting trade policy capacity development through training, research work, providing technical expertise and developing issues papers for discussions in the LDC Group. This support is aimed at improving the ability of the LDC Group to effectively negotiate beneficial outcomes for LDCs as a whole in the Doha Round, the current trade-negotiation round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The current focus is on duty-free, quota free market access of LDCs to the markets of developed and some developing countries as agreed at the Hong Kong WTO Ministerial Conference of 2008.
This support was instrumental in securing the extension to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Accession for the LDCs, in securing the LDC Services waiver and in negotiating Annex F of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.
For more information visit the Least Developed Countries Group Website athttp://www.ldcgroups.org/