UN conference agrees objective of duty-free and quota-free market access for all products originating in LDCs
The international community has agreed on the principal of duty-free and quota-free market access for all products originating in least developed countries (LDCs). This objective is part of the Programme of Action for the decade 2001-2010 to help LDCs that was adopted at the 3rd UN Conference on LDCs on 20 May.
The EU has actively pursued the objective of duty- and quota-free access for LDC products and this agreement will build on the EU's own 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) initiative that was implemented in March 2001 (seeEURACTIV 1 March 2001). The EBA gives unrestricted duty-free access to the EU for all products from 48 of the world's least developed countries (LDCs) except those relating to the arms industry.
The UN measures were announced during the 3rd UN-LDC conference held in Brussels 13-20 May 2001 (see
EURACTIV 14 May 2001). The first two UN-LDC conferences were held in Paris on in 1981 and 1990
The next WTO ministerial meeting will take place in Qatar in November 2001. The importance to LDCs of the successful launch of a new round of world trade negotiations Qatar was emphasised by Swedish Trade minister Leif Pagrotsky who said "if the poor countries are to have a chance to be incorporated into the global economy, it is crucial that they become a part of the multilateral trade system".