Landlocked Developing Countries Free Trade Agreement

The world`s 32 landlocked developing countries face high transportation and trade costs due to the lack of direct access to seaports, several border crossing points, complex administrative transit and border procedures, and limited institutional capacity. However, measures to simplify and streamline international trade can help LDCs address these challenges and improve the opportunities for sustainable economic growth outlined in the 2030 agenda. Landlocked developing countries (LDCs) face many common trade challenges. The lack of territorial access to the sea, often faced with difficult topography and harsh climate, faces high commercial costs for LDCs. The geographic challenges of trade are often exacerbated by poor infrastructure, inefficient logistics systems and weak institutions, driving up transaction costs. Low product diversification, increased concentration of commodity-based exports and complex procedural barriers make it even more difficult for LDCs to integrate into the global trading system. In other areas, progress is slower. This is the case with the implementation of regional cooperation programmes to facilitate the transit of goods or the reform of the service sector, such as the transport of heavy goods vehicles. LDCs participate in many bilateral, regional and even multilateral agreements. However, many transit agreements are very often written in bulk and do not always determine how governments can implement and manage them.

There are also some overlaps and conflicts. Some agreements, such as bilateral agreements, are generally protectionist and do not promote the development of quality services. The ITC believes that it is extremely important that the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals set out by Rio-20 pay particular attention to LDCs. Anchoring the needs of LDCs, including business development, into a post-2015 planning process will help to focus the international community and ensure a coordinated response. This must be accompanied by strong national ownership and better cooperation among aid-for-trade donors to ensure that resources are used effectively and in the interests of LDCs. 2) promote technical assistance or investment projects in LDCs or transit countries to improve their connectivity (transport, ICT, etc.). During this period, more than 150 projects and $15 billion in aid (mainly IDA) were released. The share of Almaty projects has tripled since 2003. Half of this support was given to Africa and 38% to Europe and Central Asia. In addition, the trade facilitation mechanism set up in 2010 aims to reform trade and transport facilitation, particularly corridors. The panel`s discussions will inform on a high-level mid-term review of the implementation of the Viennese Action Programme – which takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges facing LDCs – to be held in New York on 5 and 6 December 2019. The review will analyze the progress of implementation of all aspects of the program, including its transit policy and trade facilitation priorities, and identify best practices and lessons learned, as well as the barriers and constraints encountered, as well as the measures needed to accelerate its implementation.