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What Germany is doing

Opening up markets in industrialised countries


European Parliament.

An important step towards improving trade op­por­tun­i­ties is opening up mar­kets in industrialised coun­tries to products from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. One example is the European Union's Every­thing But Arms Initiative.

This gives the poorest developing countries free market access for their pro­ducts within the EU with­out quotas and with­out customs bar­riers. Tran­si­tion­al rules applied for three pro­ducts only (bananas, rice and sugar); these expired in 2009.

Another important demand that German de­vel­op­ment policy is making with­in the frame­work of the WTO ne­go­tia­tions is the abolition of what is known as tariff escalation, by means of which con­si­der­ably higher customs duties are im­posed on manu­factured pro­ducts than on com­mod­i­ties. This prac­tice, adopted by many in­dus­tri­al­ised coun­tries, means that in many de­vel­op­ing coun­tries it is not worth manu­fac­turing pro­ducts from com­mod­i­ties. And so no new jobs are created and returns from the sale of commodities are small.

A partial success was achieved in this area in December 2005 during ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween WTO members in Hong Kong. Since 2008 the least developed countries (LDCs) have been able to import 97 per cent of their in­dus­tri­al goods into in­dus­tri­al­ised coun­tries duty and tax free. Only time will tell whether this re­gu­la­tion will improve the LDCs' foreign trade balance.

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