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Trade and Development

The Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) was established in 1965 to strengthen the GATT 1947’s role in the economic development of less-developed GATT Contracting Parties. In the WTO, the CTD is a subsidiary body of the General Council.

The CTD addresses trade issues of interest to Members with particular emphasis on issues related to the operation of the “Enabling Clause” (the 1979 Decision on Differential and More Favorable Treatment, Reciprocity and Fuller Participation of Developing Countries). In this context, the CTD focuses on the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programs, the Global System of Trade Preferences among developing country Members, and regional integration efforts among developing country Members.

In addition, the CTD focuses on issues related to the fuller integration of all developing country Members into the international trading system, technical cooperation and training, commodities, market access in products of interest to developing countries, and the special concerns of the LDCs and of small economies.

The CTD has been the primary forum for discussion of broad issues related to the nexus between trade and development, rather than the implementation or operation of a specific agreement. Since the initiation of the DDA, the CTD has intensified its work on issues related to trade and development.

The CTD has focused on issues such as expanding trade in products of interest to developing country Members, problems associated with reliance on a narrow export base and on commodities, the WTO’s technical assistance and capacity building activities, and an overall assessment of the development aspects of the DDA and sustainable development goals.

As directed in the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, the CTD also conducts annual reviews of steps taken by WTO Members to implement the decision on providing duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) market access to the LDC Members.

Additional information on WTO work related to the CTD can be accessed through the WTO website.

Documents related to the work of the CTD can be accessed through the WTO “Documents Online” website. For help in navigating this website, select “Help” in the navigation bar at the top of the screen after opening the website.

• Annual Reports of the CTD to the General Council can be obtained by searching under the Document Code WT/COMTD/% (where % takes additional values), and Keywords “report” and “Committee on Trade and Development”.

• Minutes of the meetings of the CTD can be obtained by searching under the Document Code WT/COMTD/M/% (where % takes additional values).

• Working documents of the CTD can be obtained by searching under the Document Code WT/COMTD/W/% (where % takes additional values).

• Notifications to the CTD can be obtained by searching under the Document Code WT/COMTD/N/% (where % takes additional values).

Different Modes of the CTD

In addition to the regular sessions of the CTD, the Committee meets in different modes to address specific development issues, both as part of the WTO’s regular work and as part of the Doha negotiations. These modes consist of the CTD Special Session (CTD-SS) on Special and Differential Treatment Provisions and the CTD Dedicated Session on Small Economies.

Additional information on the CTD-SS can be accessed on the USTR website.  Additional information on the CTD Dedicated Session can be accessed on the WTO website.

The CTD also has a subsidiary body to deal specifically with matters concerning the LDCs, the Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries.  Additional information on this Sub-Committee can be accessed on the WTO website.