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Effective Market Access for Least Developed Countries’ Services Exports

An Analysis of the World Trade Organization Services Waiver for Least Developed Countries

image of Effective Market Access for Least Developed Countries’ Services Exports

The LDC Waiver is a legal tool that enables WTO Members to sidestep their obligation to treat all services imports equally under the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) clause through the granting preferential treatment to services and service exporters from a Least Developed Country (LDC). It is similar to the “Enabling Clause” for goods within the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), except that the Waiver only benefits LDCs, not all developing countries. It operates thus as an “LDC-only Enabling Clause for services”. The Waiver only enables preferences, it does not require WTO Members to grant them, nor provide them with specific ideas or tools to facilitate LDCs’ exports into their markets. Four country specific papers related to service exports in Cambodia, Nepal, Senegal and Zambia were undertaken with a view to help identify, design and implement smart mechanisms to facilitate LDCs’ services exports. This paper draws upon the insights and findings of those four country papers to provide a condensed overview that will help LDCs increase their services exports.

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Addressing cross-cutting issues

The pilot reviews discussed in the previous Part reveal the existence of general cross-cutting barriers facing LDCs in foreign markets. It seems useful to look at these challenges through the prism of (1) selected real examples and follow them through the (2) Collective Request and WTO Members’ response so far, as reflected in the (3) notifications, to (4) gather ideas for further possible steps that would open up real market access for LDCs’ services exports.

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