International Trade Working Paper

The International Trade Working Paper series promptly documents and disseminates reviews, analytical work and think-pieces to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate debates and discussions on issues that are of interest to developing countries in general and Commonwealth members in particular. The issues considered in the papers may be evolving in nature, leading to further work and refinement at a later stage.


Global Trade Turmoil

Implications for LDCs, Small States and Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper provides a rapid assessment of several major emerging trends in international trade with the objective of better appreciating their implications for the world's poorest, smallest and most vulnerable economies, such as least developed countries (LDCs), small states and sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis highlights that, although the tariff war involving China and the USA draws intense focus, world trade is also experiencing structural changes, complicating the situation further. In the decade since the global financial crisis of 2008, LDCs, small states and sub-Saharan Africa country groups’ combined trade have hardly expanded. Furthermore, the recent slowdown in international trading activities has reinforced the marginalisation of these groups of economies in global trade. In drawing policy implications, this paper argues that attaching less importance to trade is not an option for LDCs, small states and sub-Saharan Africa. Rather, these countries should remain focused on exploring trading opportunities, developing trade capacities and strengthening trade multilateralism.


Keywords: multilateralism, Least Developed Countries, sub-Saharan Africa, global trade
JEL: O19: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; F63: International Economics / Economic Impacts of Globalization / Economic Impacts of Globalization: Economic Development; P45: Economic Systems / Other Economic Systems / Other Economic Systems: International Trade, Finance, Investment and Aid
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