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Negotiations for UN conference on landlocked countries reach final stage

Anwarul Chowdhury, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States said negotiations at the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries in Almaty, Kazakhstan, had “reached a critical stage.””We expect engagement between delegations to sort out differences in a number of key areas this afternoon,” Mr. Chowdhury told reporters.The most substantial differences in the negotiations revolve around trade issues, according to the Chairman of the preparatory committee, Yoshiuki Matamoro of Japan. There is a reluctance to promote relatively open market access for selected groups of low-income countries with very small export capacities, while developing countries with larger greater export potential must contend with higher barriers, he added.The Conference seeks to negotiate systematic improvements of those problems through cooperation with transit nations – those situated between landlocked countries and the seas – donors and multilateral agencies.Deliberations are expected to focus on freedom of access to the seas, infrastructure development, efficiency of transport operations and international support measures. Countries will negotiate agreements on cutting red tape, time and costs in goods from landlocked nations reaching markets through transit access countries.The Conference is a system-wide UN undertaking, organized by Mr. Chowdhury’s Office with the support and active participation of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the UN regional commissions.

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