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  • Market access begins at home

    Further reduction of trade barriers between developing countries is essential for sustained growth, according to an ITC report on market access, transparency and fairness in global trade. 

    The report is the first of an annual series on market access issues and focuses on reducing global poverty by improving market entry and trade transparency for developing countries. In this report, ITC has applied a new methodology offering more accurate estimates of global poverty distribution and the impact of export growth on poverty.

    These new estimates avoid over-emphasizing the gains from globalization that occur when looking merely at gross domestic product growth per capita, rather than household income and consumption. ITC’s key findings indicate that poverty reduction results from greater integration in the world economy. Poor countries cannot grow and reduce poverty without exports and, therefore, market access and market entry are critical.

    At the report’s launch, ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis said: ‘Improving market access and market entry for developing countries will improve fairness in global trade because it will contribute to reducing global poverty. Developing countries need to export more in order to boost growth and reduce poverty and provide opportunities for wealth creation in their domestic markets, which are typically small.’

    ITC’s Willem van der Geest, lead author of the report, noted that:

    • Poverty reduction will require export development;
    • Duties paid on imports from developing countries in developed countries markets still remain high – in excess of US$ 50 billion in 2008, a sum greater than all aid-for-trade assistance;
    • Tariff levels and structures continue to be a formidable barrier to trade in many sectors, while non-tariff measures are proliferating; and
    • Improved trade transparency, especially about non-tariff measures and private standards, will be a major step towards greater fairness in global trade.

    The ITC report highlights key market access issues for developing countries such as tariffs, non-tariff measures and the utilization of preferences. It examines the relationship between export development and poverty reduction, and outlines implications for both developing country policies and international measures to improve markets. It also calls for greater transparency on the outcomes and impact of ‘fair trade’ voluntary standards on producers and exporters in developing countries.

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