Developed Country Trade Barriers and the Least Developed Countries: The Current Situation
In the 2001 Doha Development Round ministerial declaration, countries committed themselves “to the objective of duty-free, quota-free market access for products originating from LDCs.” In this light, this paper investigates the current tariff barriers put in place and preferences granted by the Triad countries regarding products from LDCs. It first investigates preferences in policy-the simple average tariffs faced by LDCs-and then looks at barriers in practice, analyzing the extent to which LDCs have been able to take advantage of the variety of preferences granted. It also explores the LDC tariff barriers against goods from other countries. It finds that Triad tariff barriers against LDC products have fallen dramatically and are especially low in the EU. However, barriers remain against certain products in which LDCs specialize, so that U.S. import-weighted tariffs for LDC goods are actually higher than U.S. import-weighted tariffs for goods of countries subject to MFN tariffs. Furthermore, the LDCs themselves tend to favor goods from the advanced industrial countries. These results indicate that there is still much room for tariff reductions for LDC goods, especially in the United States, and that such reductions must take account of LDC production capabilities.
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