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United States Announces New Initiatives to Boost Trade, Investment for Least-Developed Country Members of World Trade Organization

Washington, DC – In advance of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today announced steps aimed at enabling Least Developed Country (LDC) members of the WTO to benefit more fully from global trade. Building on already robust programs providing preferential access to the U.S. market for LDC exports, as well as ongoing contributions in Aid for Trade and trade-related capacity, new, additional initiatives include:

• renewal of a successful technical assistance program for West African cotton producing countries,

• expansion of duty-free-quota-free treatment for certain cotton grown in LDCs, and

• additional help for countries seeking to make maximum use of existing U.S. trade preference programs.

More information on these new measures can be found on the fact sheet, “New U.S. Initiatives to Boost Trade and Investment Opportunities for Least-Developed Countries.”

“For decades, the United States has been a strong partner to least-developed countries. We want to see these partners have a greater stake in global trade and overcome constraints inhibiting faster progress,” said Ambassador Kirk. “This is why, even before the announcement of these new initiatives, the United States has been one of the largest single-country providers of trade-related technical assistance, and why President Obama has made partnerships with developing countries, including LDCs, a key component of his trade agenda. We look forward to pursuing new trade initiatives in close cooperation with our LDC partners at the WTO Ministerial Meeting this week and in the future.”

Earlier this year, the United States also announced a new African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion initiative, as well as a Partnership for Trade Facilitation through USAID. The U.S. Administration has also announced that it will work energetically with the Congress in 2012 to enact legislation extending AGOA’s “third country fabric” provision to 2015, thereby sustaining existing benefits available to African exporters of apparel.

The United States already offers duty-free treatment to many countries’ products, while promoting high standards of accountability, transparency, and good governance. U.S. programs make special efforts to link trade and economic opportunity for countries ravaged by disaster or violence. The United States also leverages public-private partnerships to achieve the maximum impact for communities in poor and developing countries.