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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

EU priorities for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Held for the first time in 1964, the Conference was granted the status of a permanent ‘subsidiary body’ of the UN General Assembly. In its first three decades, UNCTAD (or its French acronym, CNUCED), was a forum for the G-77, a group of developing countries advocating a new international economic order (NIEO) for better control of their resources, over foreign investments and international trade. As a result, UNCTAD is at the origin of several agreements intended to ease the access of developing countries to the international market. The best known are the generalised system of preferences schemes, allowing developing countries to access external markets with lower duty rates on a range of products or services. In recent years, UNCTAD lost leverage, as the G-77 group, now an intergovernmental organisation of 134 member states, has become less cohesive. Members of the G-77 range from least developed countries (LDCs) to emerging economies, and their objectives are more diverse than in the past (in particular Brazil, India, China and South Africa have their own
agenda as part of the BRICS).