Trade in least developed countries in focus at EIF, WTO highlights importance
Representatives from 42 least-developed countries (LDCs) met at the first Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for LDCs taking place at the WTO on 13-14 June 2018.
Representatives from 42 least-developed countries (LDCs) met at the first Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for LDCs taking place at the WTO on 13-14 June 2018 to seek ways to further integrate the world’s poorest countries into the multilateral trading system. The event has been organized by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), a programme dedicated to addressing the trade capacity needs of LDCs, and was opened with a video message by WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
Discussions on the first day of the event centred on multilateral and regional trading systems, global agricultural value chains and trade inclusiveness for increased economic growth. In particular, sessions examined ways of fostering more sustainable trade in agriculture, developing trade strategies to help women overcome barriers to doing business and easing and enhancing trade across Africa. Participants called for 2018 to be a turning point for LDCs and trade and underlined the need to address the growing trade gap between developed nations and the world's poorest countries.
In his opening video message, DG Azevêdo said: "This event is exclusively dedicated to achieving inclusive trade in LDCs – and therefore it could not be more important. Our aim here is to ensure that more and more people benefit from international trade – especially in LDCs. We must work to strengthen the system so that it is responsive to all of our members. And we must build on the various decisions on LDC issues that WTO members have already taken in recent years."
Other speakers included the Vice President of The Gambia, Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, Her Royal Highness Princess of Burkina Faso, Abze Djigma, and the Commonwealth Secretariat Secretary General, Patricia Scotland.
Vice President Jallow-Tambajang said: "I am pleased to say that as part of this Forum I am announcing a Call to Action – action needed to use trade to fight poverty around the world, action needed to support the global trading system, action needed to foster inclusive trade. Trade action for LDCs is needed now, amid global uncertainties, a growing trade gap and changes in what is traded and how."
Participants in the Forum included representatives from countries that have recently graduated from LDC status, heads of government, international organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.