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LDC graduation: Nepal seeks extension of facilities

LDC graduation: Nepal seeks extension of facilities

Nepal has emphasized the need for continuation of all international support measures after it graduates from LDC status to a developing country in 2026. Addressing the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Ramesh Rijal said that LDC graduation is the outcome of common efforts, but the challenges that the graduated country might face should be facilitated through a creative resolution over the proposal submitted by LDC group.

“Nepal re-emphasizes the need for continuation of all international support measures, particularly Duty-Free Quota-Free Market Access, Special and Differential Treatments, preferential rules of origin, service waiver, Aid for Trade and Technical Assistance and Capacity Building supports and other important flexibilities in the implementation of multilateral trade agreements and commitments after graduation for a specified period of time,” Rijal said. 

Nepal welcomes the decision taken by WTO General Council on 23 Oct 2023 and urges all Members to support the LDC graduation-related proposal submitted by the LDC Group to facilitate the smooth and sustainable graduation, he said.

In recent years, the multilateral trading system has been undermined by growing protectionism and unilateral trade measures of the trade partners. “The system has been further weakened by ineffective implementation of WTO decisions, including Doha Development Agenda. Therefore, Nepal calls for collective commitment to the multilateral trading system,” Rijal added.

Meanwhile, WTO enshrined new rules facilitating trade in services between more than 70 member states despite initial objections from India and South Africa.

According to AP, the set of rules will streamline authorization requirements and ease procedural hurdles faced by businesses. It will help reduce the costs of global services trade by more than $119bn every year, it added. Its integration into the WTO implies all 164 members have been approved as per the body’s rules, which require full consensus.

“Reaching this outcome...and integrating it into the WTO has not been an easy pass,” EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said. “We faced opposition from two WTO members, but a ‘spirit of compromise’ eventually cleared hurdles.” 

WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, meanwhile, thanked “India and South Africa for finding a way forward,” calling services the “future of trade.” Global services exports are valued at more than $6.5trn, representing 23 percent of total world trade, according to the EU.