LDC trade mainstreaming and policy capacity development

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/

Projects

Support to Least Developed Countries to comply with TRIPS agreement for WTO membership

TMSA is providing support to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

Ratification of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a compulsory requirement of World Trade Organization membership. Any country seeking to obtain access to the numerous international markets opened by the World Trade Organization must therefore enact the strict intellectual property laws mandated by TRIPS.

TMSA is supporting LDC’s in order to allow these countries to comply with the TRIPS agreement by the extended deadline of 1st July 2013.  This will bring the LDC’s in line with the provisions of the WTO rules and regulations – opening up the way to use Intellectual Property as a development tool.

Saana Consultants are currently busy preparing an overall assessment of each country’s current status in terms of TRIPS compliance.  A draft proposal for consideration by the TRIPS Council for a phase approach or compliance is also being prepared.

Support to Seychelles in its Accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

TMSA is assisting the Government of Seychelles with its accession process to the World Trade Organisation.

TMSA is also supporting a livestock audit to determine why the incentives it provides to the poultry industry are not resulting in increased local production and a reduction in imports. A mission to Seychelles was carried out in March 2011 and Terms of Reference have been agreed.

Supporting LDCs to Mainstream Trade

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is a multi-donor programme, which supports LDCs to mainstream trade.

This is done by integrating trade into national development and poverty reduction strategies and the operationalization thereof, including through incorporation of trade into sectoral strategies, action plans and budget; intra governmental and government-private sector relations as well as government-donor relations.

Once trade forms part of the wider development framework, complementary and coordinated sets of activities can be undertaken to sequence trade reforms that will promote economic growth and lock in sustainable development for the future.

The EIF has a small Geneva-based Secretariat. It does not have the capacity to provide the level of assistance necessary to ensure that all EIF LDCs are able to prepare Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects (for example, assistance with implementing trade policy agreements, trade mainstreaming activities or capacity building activities) and to up-date their Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) where necessary.

TMSA is assisting the EIF Secretariat with support to EIF LDC countries in order to help them to prepare, in particular, Tier 2 projects for presentation to the EIF Board. TMSA aims to assist in the preparation of at least 5 EIF proposals in the 2011-12 period. This will result in better trade mainstreaming through the financing and implementation of Tier 2 projects and their related economic benefits.

Related publications:

Least Developed Countries (LDC)

Early Closure of TMSA Programme: The Secretary of State of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has decided to terminate its financial contribution to TradeMark Southern Africa (TMSA), as announced on 4 December 2013. As DFID is the sole financier of the TMSA programme of support to the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite, TMSA will officially be closed from 17 March 2014 instead of 31 October 2014. For more information about the TMSA closure, and for a summary of some of the more notable successes of the Tripartite achieved with TMSA support, please click here