ITC Statement - Twelfth Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Landlocked Developing Countries, New York

14 October 2013
ITC News
Twelfth Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Landlocked Developing Countries, New York

ITC Statement, 30 September 2013
(Check against delivery)

The International Trade Centre’s mission is to enable export success for small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition-economy countries. To this end, along with its partners, ITC provides sustainable and inclusive development solutions addressing the needs of policymakers, trade support institutions, and the private sector.

The Almaty Programme of Action (APoA) is an integral part of ITC’s corporate strategy. We have also set for ourselves a strategic target of focusing very significantly on the needs of four country groups: the LDCs, the LLDCs, the SIDS, and sub-Saharan Africa. These groups accounted for almost 60% of ITC’s total delivery in 2012 and we plan to increase this percentage in the years to come.

ITC supports LLDCs in overcoming critical vulnerabilities with a view to taking advantage of the benefits of international trade. A priority area in this regard is the development of joint projects addressing both trade and productive capacities in the context of sub- regional and regional trade, as set out in paragraph 40 of the APoA.

Through its Programme for Building African Capacity for Trade (PACT II), ITC has strengthened regional integration and export competitiveness in three Regional Economic Communities: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Some 30 African LDCS and LLDCs have benefited directly or indirectly from PACT interventions at the country and sub-regional level.

In line with priority 3 of the APoA on international trade and trade facilitation, ITC also supports LLDCs in WTO accession, which has direct and tangible implications for the business community since WTO agreements are shaping the international and national trading environments in which enterprises operate. We complement the work of WTO and UNCTAD by enhancing the private sector’s understanding of accession implications and by strengthening public sector-private sector partnership in maximising the benefits of WTO membership. ITC is currently assisting the business communities of Laos and Tajikistan in understanding and responding to the business implications of accession.

ITC believes that it is critically important that the post-2015 Development Agenda as well as the Sustainable Development Goals mandated by Rio+20 give particular attention to LLDCs. Their geographic and related economic challenges are such that they still count amongst the world’s most vulnerable economies. Anchoring the special needs of LLDCs, particularly those related to trade development, in a post-2015 planning process will help focus international attention and help ensure a coordinated response. This needs to be coupled by strong national ownership and better collaboration amongst donors of Aid for Trade to ensure resources are used effectively and in the interests of LLDCs.

We also believe that a new development agenda for LLDCs should place the role of the private sector at the centre. The new agenda should take its focus from the specific challenges facing the private sector in LLDCs and mobilize its capacities for achieving sustainable economic development goals. Some priorities would include addressing non-tariff barriers to trade, building productive capacities, growing trade in services, and building private sector resilience in meeting new challenges.

ITC will renew its efforts to support the full implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and, together with our UN system partners and other partners, we shall do our utmost to support Member States in making a success of next year’s Comprehensive Ten-Year Review Conference of the APoA.