Energizing South-South Trade: The Global System of Trade Preferences Among Developing Countries

Policy Brief No. 74

The Second High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation - BAPA+40 Conference, held on 20-22 March 2019, reaffirmed the importance of strengthening South-South trade cooperation, including the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries.*

The Agreement on the Global System of Trade Preferences offers a viable and, currently, unique interregional platform for consolidating and energizing global South-South trade cooperation.

Key points:

  • Strengthening the Global System of Trade Preferences will require ensuring the entry into force of the results of the São Paulo Round negotiations concluded in 2010, and its implementation of the agreed tariff reductions to realize expected benefits in trade, employment and welfare.

  • Preliminary UNCTAD research suggests a potential welfare gain of US$14 billion from market opening for the 11 countries that signed on to the São Paulo Round Protocol.

  • Participation by more countries, deepening of market integration and extending the areas of cooperation, potentially through a new round of negotiations, would further increase expected gains significantly.

* General Assembly resolution 73/291, of 15 April 2019, Buenos Aires outcome document of the second High-level United Nations Conference on South–South Cooperation, annex, paragraph 20.