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UNCTAD suggests improved market access to G20 markets

To heighten engagement of many developing and least developed countries in global trade, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has suggested improved access to G20 markets as a way to further boost exports. According to UNCTAD, the world’s poorest countries are barely engaging in the global economy but are fully liberalising their trade for these countries into G20 markets could boost their exports by about 15 per cent.

While least developed countries (LDCs) account for about 12 per cent of the world’s population, their share in global exports stands at about one per cent, the report Key Indicators and Trends in Trade Policy 2016, shows. The report shows that boosting exports from these countries could help accelerate economic growth, generate jobs and provide financial resources for sustainable and inclusive development.

Recognising the importance of trade for LDCs, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) include Target 17.11 to increase significantly the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developing countries’ share of global exports by 2020. The report also finds that LDCs generally trade much less than the size of their economies would suggest. The export-to-GDP ratios of the 48 LDCs are on average about 25 per cent substantially less than the average for other developing countries of about 35 per cent.

This indicator has been on a clear downward trend since 2011 and it shows the LDC struggle to integrate into the global economy. It may be noted that G20 countries support LDCs through a range of mechanisms to facilitate trade such as duty-free and quota-free access. But removing all tariffs could boost LDC exports to G20 countries by about $10 billion per year.