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.


Graduating from LDC Status

A Focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

The withdrawal of international support measures raises sustainability concerns among countries graduating from the category of least developed countries (LDCs). Despite care taken to ensure a smooth transition, these concerns are rife, especially for small island developing states (SIDS). Of the 16 LDCs slated to graduate by 2024, 6 are SIDS. SIDS' calls for additional special and differential treatment tailored to their unique vulnerabilities have yielded few wins. At the World Trade Organization (WTO) level, SIDS are not formally recognised as a distinct category; hence, their claim for special treatment will remain contentious – even amid proposals for reform of WTO rules to better serve the neediest. This paper argues that it matters little whether or not graduating SIDS receive additional support beyond smooth transition – for various reasons, including the fact that several fall-back options for LDCs are available.


Keywords: WTO, Least Developed Country, small island developing states, LDC graduation
JEL: O19: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations; O11: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
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