Why All Developing Countries Need Special and Differential Treatment

Key Points

1.    70% of the world’s poor live in so-called middle income countries. The top 12 countries with the largest proportion of the world’s poor are: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Congo, Indonesia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan (See ‘Poverty Index: Where do the poor live?’, page 3);

2.    The definition of ‘emerging economies’ is unclear and fluid. Some references consider countries known as ‘frontier markets’ and also ‘other emerging economies’, which include Barbados, Jamaica, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.  (See: ‘Which countries could fall under the category ‘emerging markets’’, page 7);

3.    Many so-called ‘Middle-Income Countries’ are important for LDCs’ industrialisation. They serve as ‘anchor economies’ for their region. Growth and structural change in LDCs depend to a large degree on these ‘anchor economies’. (See: ‘Importance of Middle Income Countries for LDCs’, page 10);

4.    There are no official criteria or definition for the ‘Small and Vulnerable Economies’ (SVE) group under WTO law. The Small Economies Work Programme at the WTO includes 32 countries. The following countries are not included: Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe amongst others. (See: ‘Who are SVEs under WTO Law’?, page 11);

5.    Narrowing the scope of the G90’s special and differential treatment proposals to cover only SVEs and LDCs could potentially carry deep systemic implications and could serve as an entry point for institutionalizing differentiation and re-categorization of developing countries under the WTO. (See: ‘Scope of coverage of the G90 textual proposals’, page….). Existing special and differential treatment provisions under WTO Agreement have varying scope of coverage; for some it is all developing countries, while others have a differentiated scope. Altering that scope would not fall under the mandate of paragraph 44 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration.

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Last modified onThursday, 03 December 2015 20:44
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