Develop a global partnership for development

Where are we?

One of the key commitments in MDG 8 is to ensure tariff- and quota-free access for the least developed countries (LDCs). By 2010 the proportion of goods admitted to developed country markets duty free had reached 82 percent for the LDCs as a whole. For Asia and the Pacific LDCs, however, the proportion was only 69 percent.

This may be due to unilateral trade preference schemes that do not cover some of the goods produced by this region. Goods the developed countries maintain protection for - for example, agricultural products, textiles and apparel - are of particular importance for Asia and the Pacific. Asia-Pacific emerging economies, however, have made some bold moves to grant preferential access to LDC products.

Developing countries in general, and LDCs in particular, also suffer from the restricted access to markets due to selective application of non-tariff barriers, such as application of product standard and intellectual property rights. This reduces trade competitiveness by raising the cost of exports.

Aid for trade has been increased to help developing countries, particularly the LDCs, build up their productive capacities and trade-related infrastructure to overcome some non-tariff barriers.  The region’s share of aid for trade flows increased from an average of 7.1 percent in 2002 to 12 percent in 2010. But this is still well below the shares of other developing regions. Moreover, around two-thirds of this has gone to just two countries – Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Since the implementation of the MDGs, the Asia-Pacific LDCs, with the exception of Bangladesh, have not made much progress in increasing their overall export shares.

In 2011 the LDCs received a total of US$44.6 billion official development assistance (ODA), slightly up from US$43.8 billion received in 2010. Levels of ODA, however, remain well below that target; except in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the overall growth of ODA in other LDCs has been less than expected.

Although Asia and the Pacific has two-thirds of the world’s poor, it received only about 20 percent of the total aid allocation in 2008-2010. Given the region’s large population, this translates into a significant low amount of ODA per poor person. Such aid received is much lower per poor person than in both Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.