LDCs Ministerial Meeting

Nepal calls for extension of all int'l support measures for a few more years after LDC graduation

Published On: June 12, 2022 07:20 PM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

GENEVA (SWITZERLAND), June 12: Nepal has demanded international forums including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations and various multilateral funding agencies to ensure adequate transitional support to facilitate smooth, irreversible and sustainable graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status. 

In his intervention at the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Ministerial Meeting held at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva today, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Dilendra Badu said graduating from the LDC status sooner than later is a common objective of all LDCs as not a single LDC wishes to remain in this status forever. 

"However, graduation itself becomes a challenge due to loss of some exemptions and flexibilities after graduation. At this critical juncture, we urge international forums, especially the WTO, the UN and other multilateral funding agencies to ensure adequate transitional support to facilitate smooth, irreversible and sustainable graduation," he said. Nepal plans to graduate from LDC status by 2026.

Minister Badu said that the prevailing challenges posed by the unforeseen crises have reversed past development achievements of LDCs weakening their ability to achieve SDGs by 2030. "In this context, our collective efforts continue to be made for the extension of all LDC-specific international support measures including Duty Free Quota Free market access, preferential rules of origin, LDC service waiver, flexibilities in implementation of WTO rules and commitments, and aid for trade, among others, unconditionally for a few more years after graduation," he said. 

Minister Badu noted that LDCs were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises and recovery from such situations is becoming more challenging for these countries.  "Our collective efforts for ensuring effective, equitable and affordable vaccination to defeat this pandemic became successful to some extent," he further said.

Minister Badu said that the more challenging aspect now is recovery and building forward better from the pandemic in LDCs. He also said that LDCs have fiscal and institutional capacity constraints in post pandemic recovery and this demands enhanced global support mainly in strengthening their health system, productive capacity building and enhancing export competitiveness.

Minister Badu also highlighted that LDCs were facing multiple challenges in the process of socio-economic development as supply side capacity constraints, low level of productive capacity, inadequate investment, insufficient trade infrastructures, digital divide among and within the countries, and non-tariff barrier, among others, had been posing challenges in benefiting from the multilateral trading system. "Furthermore, LDCs are in dire need of bridging the digital divide to participate in and benefit from e-commerce and digital economy in the changing global context," he added. 

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