Latest news Latest news

Return to Full Page

TÜBITAK Graduate Scholarship Programme for LDCs is accepting applications

Applications are invited for TÜBITAK graduate scholarship available for the citizens of least developed countries. The scholarship covers fields of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technological Sciences, Medical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. Applicants must be 30 years old or younger for the MSc/MA programs and 35 years old or younger for the PhD programs on the first day of the application period. Applicants who are currently enrolled in a PhD program in Turkey are also eligible to apply on the condition that they have not yet completed their six semester in the program. Maximum duration for the scholarship is 2 years for the Masters and 4 years for...

Launch of Angola's LDC Graduation book

A digital book on the process of graduation of Angola from the list of LDCs was released in Geneva, Switzerland. Co-authors, Adelino Muxito and Gilberto António, present a study of the impact of the removal of the special measures associated with the LDC status. They reach the conclusion that in the short term, graduation might not have an impact on Angolan exports, taking into account that in various markets, crude oil (which is the bulk of the Angolan exports) has zero or low customs tariffs under the general MFN regime. However, the authors argue that in the medium and long term, the graduation will eventually have an impact on the national policy of diversification of exports, due to...

Cambodia to certify origin of rice exported to the EU under EBA

Amidst increasing concerns by the European Union about the origin of rice exported by Cambodia, the country will set up an oversight infrastructure to improve the accountability of its exporters. Cambodian rice has preferential access to the EU market under the EBA initiative. Depending on the type of rice exported, MFN tariff lines are on average 7.7 per cent (ad valorem), while certain rice varieties incur specific duties ranging from €65 to €211 per ton, according to the WTO tariff on line database. It is argued that Cambodian rice exports would not be competitive if EBA treatment is lost. Currently, Cambodian rice is quoted between $365 to 450 per ton, with the fragrant varieties...

EIF: Enhancing LDCs' self-reliance

In an interview to Afrique en Ligne EIF's Executive Secretary, Mr. Ratnakar Adhikari, highlights the EIF's contribution to reducing LDCs' dependence on foreign aid, diversifying  countries' export base and promoting South-South cooperation through the exchange of experiences. Details of this informative interview can be found here .

Accessing the WTO LDC Group website

Information from the WTO LDC Group at the WTO can be accessed at www.ldcountries.org/. The LDC Group coordinates its engagement in negotiations under the multilateral trading system and aims to advance common positions. Through a rotational system, a coordinator is selected among LDCs to lead the Group’s engagement at all levels. The website of the Group presents useful information about activities, statements and LDC-specific proposals to the WTO. Source: LDC Group

Sweden pledges $3 million to the EIF in 2014

Sweden has pledged to donate $3 million to the EIF in 2014. To date the country has contributed $14 million to the EIF Fund. Source: Global Tax News

Samoa graduates from the LDC category

Samoa graduated from LDC status effective 1 January 2014. It now joins Botswana, Cape Verde, and Maldives the only other countries that have left the category.  In 2006, the Committee for Development Policy recommended the graduation of Samoa from the LDC  category to the Economic and Social Council. The Council endorsed the recommendation in July 2007. Subsequently, the GA adopted the resolution on the graduation of Samoa, which was scheduled to take place in December 2010. On 29 September 2009, however, Samoa was hit by a devastating tsunami, which threatened to disrupt the socio-economic progress for several years. Consequently, the GA decided to give Samoa additional...

Bangladeshi Federation assesses Bali outcome for LDCs

The Federation of Bangladeshi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)  indicates that Bali outcome was disappointing for LDCs. There is a weakening of the target of providing 100% DFQF on all products originating from all LDCs. Instead, the Ministerial Decision calls upon “Developed-country Members that do not yet provide duty-free and quota-free market access for at least 97% of products originating from LDCs, defined at the tariff line level, shall seek to improve their existing duty-free and quota-free coverage for such products, so as to provide increasingly greater market access to LDCs, prior to the next Ministerial Conference”. The Federation also expressed its reservations...

Yemen to join WTO in 2014

The WTO Bali Ministerial Conference approved Yemen's terms of accession to the Organization. Yemen has until 2 June 2014 to ratify the accession agreement. Thirty days after the ratification date, Yemen will become a full fledged WTO member. Source:  WTO

Bhutan 12th Round Table meeting with Development Partners

From 10-12 December 2013, a Round Table Meeting (RTM) was organized between the Government of Bhutan and its development partners. The RTMs are the highest forum for policy dialogue and aid coordination between the Government of Bhutan and its development partners. The RTMs provide an opportunity for the government and its development partners to review and discuss issues of mutual interest to further strengthen socio-economic development cooperation ties. This year's agenda included Bhutan's graduation prospects and challenges, with a presentation by UNDP . Source: Government of Bhutan .

ODA and private sector development for youth employment in LDCs

One of the pledges of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) focuses on the employment of youth and their participation in the economy. Particularly, the LDCs’ development partners have committed to “provide financial and technical assistance to support least developed countries’ policies and programmes that provide economic opportunities and productive employment to youth” (para. 81 (2a)). A recent report by UNCTAD is proposing a new international support measure to create employment opportunities for youth in LDCs. The support measure would involve a catalytic use of ODA for employment creation through private sector development. In a nutshell, the objective of the support...

Revised drafts of Bali Package

Ministers attending the WTO Bali Ministerial Conference received on 6 December 2013 revised draft decisions on a package of issues related to streamlining trade, options for providing food security, LDCs’ trade and development. The latest draft texts were negotiated in Geneva before the Ministerial Conference and further refined after consultations at the conference and are now being presented to ministers from the full membership to consider. Under WTO rules, a consensus is required for the decisions to be adopted. Regarding LDCs, the Draft Bali Ministerial Declaration makes reference to the following draft texts for adoption by ministers: Preferential Rules of Origin for...

General Assembly adopts resolution leading to graduation of Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu

On 4 December 2013, the UN General Assembly took note of the ECOSOC decision to endorse the recommendation of the CDP that Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu be graduated from the LDC category. The GA decided to provide Equatorial Guinea, on an exceptional basis, with an additional preparatory period of six months before the start of the three-year preparatory period leading to graduation. In addition, the GA also decided to provide Vanuatu, on an exceptional basis, with an additional preparatory period of one year before the start of the three-year preparatory period leading to graduation. The GA invites both countries to prepare, during the period between the adoption...

Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Graduation Strategies

From 4 to 6 December 2013, ESCAP, UN DESA and the Government of Cambodia jointly convene an Asia-Pacific Regional Training Workshop on Graduation Strategies,  in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The workshop brings together Member governments, experts dealing with LDC issues, the UN system, relevant regional organizations, development partners and a broad spectrum of civil society representatives from Asia and the Pacific. The main objective of the Workshop is to review the progress made and challenges encountered by Asia-Pacific LDCs towards the graduation thresholds, assess the prospects and suggest policy options for the way forward.  Source: ESCAP

Bali Briefing note: Decisions for LDCs

It is expected that Ministers will be asked to adopt decisions concerning LDCs at the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference on 3-6 December 2013 in Bali. These decisions result from the proposals made by the group of LDCs. The proposal contains four major elements: a decision on the implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs a decision on preferential rules of origin for LDCs a decision on the operationalization of the LDC services waiver a decision in the area of cotton, covering both trade and development assistance aspects. Source: WTO  

China contributes USD 400,000 to facilitate LDCs accession

Commending the satisfactory implementation of the China Programme, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and China’s Trade Minister Mr Hucheng Gao signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the WTO's Ministerial Conference in Bali. The MoU extends the programme for another year to continue assisting LDCs in the process of acceding to the WTO. Source: WTO

LDCs look for progress in Bali

Improving the trading prospects of developing countries was the Doha Round’s “raison d’être” when the negotiations began in 2001. Prior to the Round’s launch, the organisation had been subjected to harsh scrutiny by some critics who charged that its rules, in their current form, placed too much of a focus on rich country interests. The monumental task in updating such rules, however, has met repeated negotiating setbacks which the Round has yet to resolve. For a brief period at the WTO’s Eighth Ministerial Conference in Geneva, an “early harvest” for some LDC issues appeared possible, only for the process to be derailed weeks before the 2011 meeting. This year’s Bali process has aimed...

Monitoring Mechanism advances ahead of Bali

One development-focused subject that has seen notable advances ahead of Bali involves the Monitoring Mechanism, which aims to review the functioning of provisions in multilateral trade rules for S&DT for developing countries. Negotiations on the mechanism date back to a July 2002 decision by the General Council endorsing an African Group proposal on the subject, which also directed the Committee on Trade and Development Special Session to establish terms for how it would work. The talks then languished for years as the Mechanism was linked to calls by some developed countries for “differentiation” among non-LDC developing countries. Members were able to reach a tentative resolution in...

LDCs announce breakthrough on key section of Bali package

LDCs and key stakeholders have reached an agreement which largely stabilises section two of the Trade Facilitation text. The LDC Group says that this resolves all of their outstanding issues and that the Bali package is important for the credibility of multilateral trading system. The LDC Group calls on all WTO Members to take the necessary steps to ensure success in Bali. The coordinators of the Africa Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group join these calls. Source: WTO

Ireland donates for LDC participation in WTO Ministerial

Ireland announced a donation of EUR 70,000 (about CHF 86,400) to support the effective participation of least-developed countries in the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference. In addition, the country also donated to strengthen trade capacity of developing countries. Source: WTO