Caribbean Trade Reference Centre

  About the WTO
  Text of the WTO Agreements
  WTO Annual Publications
  Dispute Settlement
  Trade and Development
  Aid for Trade
  Small Economies
  Special and Differential Treatment
  Doha Development Agenda

English | Français
Trade and Development
Special and Differential Treatment
The WTO Agreements allow developing countries some preferential treatment, including the following measures:
  • extra time for developing countries to fulfill their commitments.
  • provisions designed to increase developing countries’ trading opportunities through greater market access.
  • provisions requiring WTO members to safeguard the interests of developing countries when adopting some domestic or international measures.
  • provisions for various means of helping developing countries through technical assistance.
GATT Provisions and Decisions:
The Enabling Clause officially called the "Decision on Differential & More Favourable Treatment, Reciprocity & Fuller Participation of Developing Countries", was adopted under GATT in 1979 and enables developed members to give differential and more favorable treatment to developing countries.

The Enabling Clause is the WTO legal basis for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Under the GSP, developed countries offer non-reciprocal preferential treatment (such as zero or low duties on imports) to products originating in developing countries. Preference-giving countries unilaterally determine which countries and which products are included in their schemes.

The Enabling Clause is also the legal basis for regional arrangements among developing countries and for the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP), under which a number of developing countries exchange trade concessions among themselves.

The Enabling Clause
GATT - Part IV
WTO Decisions on:
Waiver Regarding Preferential Tariff Treatment for Least-Developed Countries
Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns
Waiver for EU-ACP Partnership Agreement
EU Transitional Regime for Banana Imports
Selected Documents on Special and Differential Treatment:
Special Sessions on Special and Differential Treatment of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development
Report by the Chairman to the Trade Negotiations Committee and Council (TN/CTD/20)
Report to the General Council on S&DT (TN/CTD/3)
WTO Secretariat Compilations of Provisions on Special and Differential Treatment
Special and Differential Treatment Least-Developed Countries (WT/COMTD/W/135)
Implementation of S&DT provisions in WTO Agreements and Decisions (WT/COMTD/W/77), and Corr.1 (WT/COMTD/W/77 Corr.1)
A summary of the provisions contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements in favour of developing countries and least-developed countries
Source: WTO Secretariat