Poorest countries have yet to benefit from trade liberalization – UN official

22 April 2008

Landlocked and least developed countries (LDCs) have been further marginalized as a result of trade liberalization, which has led to increased growth in many parts of the world, a senior United Nations official has said.

Addressing the 12th UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), taking place in Accra, Ghana, Cheick Sidi Diarra lamented the fact that many of these countries have experienced a further loss of their market share as a result of trade liberalization.

Mr. Diarra, the UN’s High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, noted that globalization, which is supposed to lead to economic growth and reduce poverty, has served to deepen the disparities between and within countries.

To further integrate LDCs into the world economy, he called for domestic policies that support technological progress and innovation, as well as employment creation and upgrading of physical infrastructure. This must be accompanied by the creation of an enabling global environment, he added.

Landlocked developing countries are particularly marginalized in the international trading system, Mr. Diarra pointed out, owing to their remoteness from major world markets and excessive transit transport costs.

The High Representative said that addressing this situation requires the establishment of viable transit transport systems and the building up of export capacity.

He also expressed support for the Aid-for-Trade (AFT) initiative – launched at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference – which aims to scale up international financial assistance for building up trade capacity in developing countries.

Mr. Diarra hoped the Accra gathering would help focus attention on the urgent need for greater support for the LDCs and landlocked developing countries in the area of international trade.

 

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