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Chile has joined a number of developing countries that have opened their markets to products from least-developed countries (LDCs) by waiving duties and quotas, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on June 30, 2014.
The South American country has set the customs duties on most products from LDCs at zero since 28 February 2014, except for wheat, flour, and sugar.
A decision at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference called for members to provide increasingly greater market access to LDCs before the next Ministerial Conference in 2015. The decision is an affirmation of the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference Declaration which states that "developed-country Members, and developing-country Members declaring themselves in a position to do so, agree to implement duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from LDCs."
The Bali decisions also set guidelines for members to streamline their preferential rules of origin, to enable LDCs to make better use of the market opportunities.
Most of the WTO's developed countries now provide duty-free and quota-free market access for products from LDCs. A number of developing-country members are also making efforts to open their markets for exports from the world's poorest countries.
LDCs represent the poorest and weakest segment of the international community. The current list of LDCs includes 48 countries, 34 of which are WTO members and eight are in the process of joining.
The LDCs represent about 12 percent of the world's population, but account for less than 2 percent of global gross domestic product, and about 1 percent of global trade in products.
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