Least Developed Country competitiveness


    Graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status is a signal of strong performance in the graduating country’s key macroeconomic indicators and broad-based social developments.

    Yet graduation is just one step in the development process, and further support may be needed to strengthen productive capacities and structural transformation and enable the graduating country to engage as a competitive player in the global market.

    ITC provides advisory services and strengthens the capacity of the public and private sector to support LDCs in their graduation, using preferential market access schemes and engagement through public-private dialogues.

    Domestic policy reforms for graduating Least Developed Countries

    ITC supports graduating Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to align their domestic regulatory and policy framework with their multilateral, regional and bilateral trading commitments and better leverage trade opportunities available.

    ITC provides:

    • Technical support to review legislative frameworks and identify policy reforms required to align with multilateral and regional frameworks; advisory support to negotiate for waivers or extensions;
    • Technical support to review or draft legislative and regulatory instruments to align with multilateral and regional commitments from which the graduating country may previously have received exemptions;
    • Capacity building of the public and private sector on related policy reforms flowing from LDC graduation.

    Preferential market access for least developed countries

    Developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are granted unilateral preferential market access to developed country markets. Over 20 such schemes have been notified to the WTO, with nine schemes designated exclusively for LDCs. Each of these has its own eligibility criteria including specific rules of origin and registration requirements.


    The objective is to help developing countries and LDCs engage in exports with developed markets, and encourage countries to diversify their markets and products.

    ITC provides support to LDCs to:

    • Understand preferential market access schemes, eligibility criteria, and measures to be taken to access such schemes, through business guides, toolkits, and targeted training for public and private sectors;
    • Support graduating LDCs with understanding their eligibility and expected economic benefits of target preferential schemes available to developing countries and guide the country through the accession process;
    • Support negotiating extensions to preferential treatment and transition periods when phasing out of LDC preferences, and negotiating access to bilateral or regional trading arrangements.

    ITC contact

    Trade Policy Team
    itctradepolicy [at] intracen.org