Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures2016 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Target 17.12: Market access for LDCs

Realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organisation decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access.

The objective of 17.12 is to improve market access conditions for LDC exports as an integral element of special and differential treatment for LDCs, in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. It is very closely related to Goal 10.a17.44. The Inter-agency Expert Group (IAEG-SDG) has selected the Average tariffs faced by developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States as the appropriate indicator.

Even following the financial crisis, there was a marked reduction in tariffs applied to LDC exports in most regions.

Table 17.1 presents the average tariffs applied to LDCs as well as the relative preferential marginAn RPM is the difference between the preferential rate for LDCs and the applied tariff rates applicable to LDC competitor countries in the same market taking into account the preferential tariff rates that are applicable to them.
(RPMs) enjoyed by LDC exports. In general, a preferential margin is the difference between the preferential tariff rate applicable to exports from LDCs and the corresponding most favoured nation rateCountries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Granting one country a special favour will oblige the granting country to do the same for all other WTO members.
(MFN). The first two columns in table 17.1 compare the average tariff rates applicable to LDC exports in 2008 and 2013. Even after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, tariffs facing LDC exports showed a substantial reduction (with the exception of West Asia and North Africa). The last two columns provide the RPM enjoyed by LDCs. In the past two decades, a proliferation of bilateral and regional trade agreements may have reduced RPMs facing LDCs, particularly in developed country markets. In the five years between 2008 and 2013 however, the RPM has improved in most cases. Only in Latin America was the average tariff facing LDC exports 0.5 per cent higher than those facing LDC competitors. The fall in RPMs in low-income countries and South Asia may have resulted from a compositional shift of LDC exports from low-tariff products (for example, fuels) to higher-tariff ones (for example, foodstuffs).

Table 17.1. Average tariffs and relative preferential margins faced by least developed country exports, 2008 and 2013 (Percentage) Download data
Average applied tariff
Relative preferential margin
Developed countries1.
East Asia0.
Latin America3.11.8-1.8-0.5
South Asia5.
Sub-Saharan Africa1.
Transition countries7.
West Asia and North Africa2.
High-income countries1.
Middle-income countries0.
Low-income countries5.