UNCTAD and Generalised System of Preferences

Created to handle particular issues of least developed countries, UNCTAD is a permanent UN body dealing with trade and investment issues. The conception and implementation of Generalised System of Preferences has been a principal achievement of UNCTAD. UNCTAD publishes a number of reports including the flagship World Investment Report. Here is some holistic information about UNCTAD, their reports, GSP and other related organisations.

Related image
UNCTAD logo. source unctad.org.

UNCTAD – United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

  • a permanent intergovernmental body established by, and reports to, UN General Assembly. Part of the UN Secretariat.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. Offices in New York and Addis Ababa.
  • goal – Prosperity for all. To maximise the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.
  • The creation of UNCTAD in 1964 was based on concerns of developing countries over the disparity between developed and developing world, and the view that existing institutions like GATT (now WTO), World Bank, and IMF are not properly organised to handle the particular problems of developing countries.
  • Publications – Flagship Reports:
    • World Investment Report – It focuses on and analyses trends in Foreign Direct Investment across the world.
    • Trade and Development Report
    • The International Accounting and Reporting Issues Annual Review
    • The Least Developed Countries Report
    • The Economic Development in Africa Report
    • Trade and Environment Report; Information Economy Report, Review of Maritime Transport Report; Technology and Innovation Report
    • Source: https://unctad.org/en/Pages/publications.aspx
  • Other activities:
    • UNCTAD conducts certain technical cooperation programmes in collaboration with the WTO, through the International Trade Centre (ITC) – a technical cooperation agency targeting operational and enterprise-oriented aspects of trade development.
    • UNCTAD hosts the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR).

More Related Information:

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)

  • Generalised System of Preferences is a preferential tariff system which provides for tariff reduction on various products from developing countries and least developed countries.
  • It was conceived by UNCTAD, that also helps countries in implementing it.
  • It is implemented by many developed and developing countries with varying norms. For example, the United States has excluded countries from its GSP for reasons such as being communist (Vietnam), being on US State Department’s list of countries that support terrorism (Libya), and failing to respect US intellectual property laws.

World Economic Situation Prospects (WESP) Report

  • published by UNCTAD, UNDESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs), and the five UN regional Commissions (Economic Commission for Africa, Economic Commission for Europe, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
  • similar sounding:
    • World Economic Prospects – by World Bank
    • World Economic Outlook – by IMF

International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO)

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation, promoted by UNCTAD. It is headquartered in Japan.
  • It promotes sustainable management in trade of tropical forest resources.

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