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Goods and services | Brussels, 18 November 2015

EU announces easier access for services exports from Least-Developed Countries

On 18 November, the EU notified the WTO of its preferential treatment to services exports from the world’s Least Developed Countries.

On 18 November 2015, the EU notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that as of today it will start granting easier access to services exported from the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs), through preferential treatment.

"The EU attaches great importance to helping the least developed countries better integrate into the world trading system," said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade. "I hope that this will encourage all developed and developing WTO Members, who have not yet given preferential treatment to these countries, to do so without delay. This waiver is an important deliverable of the Doha Development Agenda."

The EU joins other WTO members who have responded to the commitments made at the 2013 WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali to the so-called LDCs services waiver.

This means, for example, that in some 30 important sectors or subsectors, preferential treatment will enable the least developed countries to transfer management trainees to affiliated companies in the EU, and allow them to get up to one year of experience there. LDC companies with a contract to provide services in the EU will be able to send skilled professionals to Europe to provide these services. Likewise, independent professionals from LDCs will be able to provide services in the EU for up to six months at a time in a wide range of services sectors, including architecture, engineering, research and development, management consulting, and computer services.

The preferences that the EU granted today are due to last for the duration of the waiver and until a country is no longer on the UN list of least-developed countries.

The LDCs Services Waiver, adopted in 2011 at the 8th Ministerial Conference, authorised WTO Members to grant preferential treatment to services and service suppliers of the world's least developed countries. The waiver is set to terminate in 15 years from the adoption of this Decision.

Read the notification