Small States and the Multilateral Trading System

Overcoming Barriers to Participation

image of Small States and the Multilateral Trading System

Developing countries, including as small states and least developed countries (LDCs), continue to face significant challenges within the global trading system. Action is required to allow them to overcome disadvantages and achieve sustainable levels of income from trade.

This study provides a fresh perspective on how measures can be taken to enhance the participation of small states, many of which are Commonwealth countries, in the multilateral trading system. It contributes to the ongoing general debate about reforming the World Trade Organization and global trade governance.




Small States' Services Trade: Enhancing Participation in the Multilateral Trading System and Beyond

Services are part and parcel of today’s social and economic fabric, proving to be critical for small states’ development and helping them overcome their inherent disadvantages of smallness and remoteness. Services such as health and education are vital to improving livelihoods; environmental services help to alleviate the impact of economic activities on the environment; and transport, telecommunications, financial and business services facilitate trade and reduce transaction costs, which are often exorbitant in the case of small states. Services such as tourism transform local communities and contribute to the preservation of culture and heritage, whereas developments in information and communication technology (ICT) transform business models, catalysing innovation and creating avenues for the diffusion of information and knowledge. Chapter 1 of this book highlighted the main trends in the services sector for Commonwealth small states. This chapter, although looking at a broader group of small states,1 goes deeper into the analysis of services, outlining the key services sectors for small states, some areas of concern and developments at the multilateral level.


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