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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article, which focuses on the least developed countries (LDCs) and their participation in the World Trade Organization, provides a brief overview of the trade profiles of the LDCs and the constraints that they face in the multilateral trading system. It examines how the LDCs' share of global trade has evolved, traces their strengths and weaknesses in this sphere, and also analyses the evolution of LDC issues during the Doha Round, including the critical issue of providing duty-free and quota-free market access to all products from all LDCs. The article considers the complementary and supportive role played by the Enhanced Integrated Framework, in the broader context of Aid for Trade, in converting market access opportunities into actual gains for the LDCs. Finally, it discusses the way in which the group dynamics and their collective bargaining power have evolved, and outlines some of the key issues in the context of the Istanbul Programme of Action adopted at the Fourth United Nations Conference on LDCs, held in May 2011.

Keywords: least developed countries, World Trade Organization, multilateral trading system, global trade, Doha Round, Enhanced Integrated Framework, market access, collective bargaining, Aid for Trade, Programme of Action

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