Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) in the WTO

What is S&DT in WTO law?

  • Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) in the WTO usually refers to a category of legal provisions in existing WTO agreements that give developing countries greater flexibility with regards to the application of commitments and use of policy instruments and developed countries the right to treat developing countries more favourably.
  • These provisions are aimed at helping poor farmers in developing countries through subsidies.
  • With S&DT, WTO members recognize the different economic situations of developing countries and their needs in implementing the obligations of WTO agreements.

S&DT provisions:

S&DT provisions are usually grouped into four categories:

  • Longer time periods for implementing agreements and commitments,
  • Measures to increase trading opportunities for these countries,
  • Provisions requiring all WTO members to safeguard the trade interests of developing countries,
  • Support to help developing countries build the infrastructure for WTO work, handle disputes, and implement technical standards.

In addition to S&DT for all developing countries, some WTO agreements also contain special provisions for least developed countries (LDC). These special conditions for LDC include longer timeframes or exemptions (partial of full) for commitments.

Source: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/devel_e/dev_special_differential_provisions_e.htm

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