Global perspective Human stories

Poorest countries need market access in developing world too – UN official

Poorest countries need market access in developing world too – UN official

Anwarul Chowdhury
With the 50 least developed countries (LDCs) accounting for only 0.5 per cent of global trade although they comprise 12.5 per cent of the world’s population, full market access for them is essential both in developed countries and among developing nations themselves, a senior United Nations official has said.

Developing countries should lift trade barriers on the products of disadvantaged countries to enable them benefit from the fast expanding South-South trade opportunities, the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing countries and Small Island States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, told the General Assembly yesterday.

“South-South trade has been growing at 11 per cent a year for the past decade…. Africa’s trade with Asia, for example, trebled from $6 billion to nearly $18 billion in the last decade. South-South trade now represents approximately 40 per cent of the trade of developing countries,” he said.

Mr. Chowdhury also stressed that duty-free and quota-free preferential treatment of the LDCs by developed countries would have a major impact on their economic fortunes. “This alone, if implemented by the World Trade Organization (WTO), could generate welfare gains of up to $8 billion and export gains of up to $6.4 billion,” he said.

He emphasized the urgency of the LDCs’ call to resolve the issue of cotton and other agricultural subsidies by developed countries, which distort international trade.