by Valdete Berisha-Krasniqi, Antoine Bouët, David Laborde, and Simon Mevel
The benefits least developed countries (LDCs) can draw from a multilateral trade reform as designed by the modalities made public in May 2008 are negligible, and some countries will even face adverse effects. World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiators should make a supplementary effort in favor of the poorest countries. The Duty-Free Quota-Free (DFQF) Initiative moves in the right direction, but it should be extended not only from a product point of view—with a 100, not 97, percent application—but also in terms of geographic coverage. This initiative has to be supported by both Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and BrIC (Brazil, India, and China) countries. It is in the interests of Asian LDCs to prioritize full openness of OECD markets (a 100-percent DFQF regime) and full access to the U.S. market in particular, while African countries will draw more benefits from a geographic extension of this regime to BrIC countries.