Trade beyond Doha

Prospects for the Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries

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Focusing on the Least Developed Countries located in the Asia-Pacific region, this study explores the impact of different approaches available to the LDCs and their partners in improving their developmental prospects through enhanced trade. It presents trade related data of the 14 LDCs and the linkage between trade and economic development. It analyses market access and studies increasing protectionist measures faced by LDCs during the crisis period. It explores reciprocal trade liberalization policies (bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral) from various perspectives in order to better understand their differences, interaction and impact on LDCs and more developed countries. It also discusses possible options to improve the capacity of LDCs to tap their trade potential and integrate more effectively into the global economy.



The global economic crisis, contemporary protectionism, and least developed countries

As an aftermath of the recent global economic and financial crisis, the incidences of widespread protectionism, although manifested around the world did not escalate to the level experienced in the 1930s. There are competing views among the experts regarding the extent and impact of crisis-era and post-crisis protectionism, mainly because the unconventional and ‘murky’ nature of newly introduced trade barriers makes them more difficult to quantify. However, both the latest reports, the European Commission’s “Eighth Report on Potentially Trade Restrictive Measures” (2011a) and the WTO report to the Trade Policy Review Body from the DG on traderelated developments (2011a), admitted that border closing trade restrictions in past six months had increased significantly, particularly compared to the previous periods.


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