TOP members had a very informative briefing session this morning with Ricardo Melendez Ortiz, Chief Executive of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).
ICTSD is a Geneva-based think tank that aims to influence the international trade system such that it advances the goal of sustainable development and shares many of TOP’s aims, especially in the areas of trade facilitation and the need for improved infrastructure in LDCs to help them take advantage of market access.
While Duty-free/Quota-free access for LDCs features on the WTO agenda in a broad sense, Mr Melendez said that it was crucial that this be pushed up the agenda for G8 and G20 discussions. Mr Melendez also spoke about the need for the current trade and development agenda including Doha to be updated to reflect more current concerns such as resource scarcity and rising food prices.
The meeting also discussed the need to help LDCs reap the benefits of the competitive advantages they already have, such as extractives, and the need for global participation in value chains to be reflected in rules of origin. There was also some debate about the need for reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy due to outdated European concern over agricultural competition from the developing world, and how the current system of EPAs could be improved.

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