Improving the Operationalisation and Implementation of the WTO’s LDC Services Waiver: A Commonwealth Perspective


Swati Sharma


In 2011, the World Trade Organization members adopted a decision on the Least Developed Country Services Waiver (‘the Waiver’), which allowed developed and developing countries to grant LDC members preferential treatment that would otherwise be inconsistent with most-favoured-nation treatment under Article II of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. However, even after the decision adopted to operationalise the Waiver at the Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013, most LDCs have not been able to take advantage of this arrangement.

This study explores the services trade of the 14 Commonwealth LDCs to analyse whether the preferences provided under the LDC Services Waiver are commercially meaningful for these economies. The study highlights the major contribution that services make to gross domestic product (GDP) in almost all Commonwealth LDCs and argues that services sectors have significant potential to drive economic development and transformation in these countries.





2 October 2023

Online ISSN