At a workshop on least-developed countries (LDCs) and the multilateral trading system held on November 3 at the WTO, Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang emphasized the importance of supporting greater integration of LDCs into global trade. The event served as a platform for WTO members and trade experts to discuss the findings of a new study concerning LDCs' participation in agriculture and services trade.
The Coordinator of the WTO's LDC Group, Ambassador Kadra Ahmed Hassan of Djibouti, underscored that one-third of people in LDCs suffer from undernourishment, and these countries continue to have limited involvement in international services trade. The discussion aimed to explore additional measures to assist LDCs in addressing vulnerabilities and enhancing their exports.
The study, titled "LDCs and the multilateral trading system," highlighted that certain governmental trade and non-trade measures could hinder LDCs' export prospects. Participants recognized that trade plays a vital role in contributing to food security in LDCs, emphasizing the need to maintain the flow of agricultural and food exports to facilitate imports.
The discussion also underscored the importance of trade support in strengthening the capacity of LDC service providers. Key priorities for LDC policymakers include addressing data gaps, reinforcing domestic regulatory frameworks, diversifying services export portfolios, and enhancing firms' competitiveness through trade finance and skills development. Regional integration was also identified as a significant factor in boosting LDCs' services exports.