Trade Agreements Developing Countries

Further liberalization – both by developed and developing countries – will be needed to harness trade potential as an engine of economic growth and development. Industrialised countries and the wider international community will do more to remove trade barriers faced by developing countries, especially the poorest countries. Although the quotas under the so-called multi-fibre agreement are due to expire by 2005, it is particularly important to accelerate the liberalisation of the textile and clothing and agriculture industries. Similarly, the removal of tariff peaks and the escalation of agriculture and manufacturing must be continued. On the other hand, developing countries would strengthen their own economies (and trading partners) if they made sustained efforts to further reduce their own trade barriers. Improving market access for the poorest developing countries would give them the means to use trade for development and the fight against poverty. Giving the poorest countries duty-free and quota-free access to global markets would have little cost to the rest of the world. Recent market opening initiatives in the EU and some other countries are important in this regard.10 To be absolutely effective, this access should be sustainable, extended to all products and accompanied by simple and transparent rules of origin. This would give the poorest countries the confidence to stick to difficult internal reforms and ensure effective use of debt relief and aid flows. The Generalised Preference System (GSP) aims to facilitate access to the EU market by reducing tariffs on their products by developing countries and territories. The EU originally granted unilateral tariff preferences to generate additional export revenues for developing countries so that they could be reinvested in their own sustainable development. As part of the 2012 reform[3], the GSP programme was aimed more at the poorest countries – the least developed countries (LDCs) – while maintaining the three components of the system.