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Publisher: World Trade Organization (www.wto.org)

“Easing Trade Bottlenecks in Landlocked Developing Countries” delves into the specific challenges that LLDCs face when trading internationally, including supply chain constraints, reliance on transit countries for imports and exports and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on LLDCs’ economies.

The study finds that LLDCs’ trade costs are 1.4 times higher than those of developing countries with a coastline. It also details LLDCs’ vulnerability to climate change but notes the benefits that trade in services and e-commerce can bring to these countries.

In her opening remarks, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reiterated her commitment to promoting a more inclusive multilateral trading system: “LLDCs face particularly acute versions of realities that all members must grapple with, as complex emerging challenges, such as climate change, threaten development possibilities and future prosperity. We must leverage the potential of trade to meet these challenges. … We must also ensure that the gains from trade are equally distributed. Enhancing integration into regional and global value chains of women, youth and small businesses creates jobs and opportunities, and helps reduce inequality … In a world marked by the COVID pandemic, the paths that lead to economic growth cannot be separated from those that lead to inclusion.”

LLDCs’ already fragile trade and economic situation was further exacerbated by measures taken by governments to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The study notes a 40 per cent decline in LLDCs’ exports between April 2019 and April 2020.

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