13 Aug 2022, 20:31

Revised proposal to be placed before WTO for existing facilities after LDC graduation

DHAKA, Aug 13, 2022 (BSS) - Bangladesh will place a revised proposal before the World Trade Organization (WTO) so that the country could enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to international market six years after the graduation from the Least Development Country (LDC) status.

The revised proposal will be placed in line with the decisions taken in the 12th World Trade Organization Ministerial meeting held in Geneva.

Director General of the WTO Cell under the Ministry of Commerce Md Hafizur Rahman informed this while addressing a roundtable discussion.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) organized the roundtable discussion on "Results of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference" held at the ICAB Bhaban in the capital today.

Sharifa Khan, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), spoke at the event as the chief guest while ICAB President Md. Shahadat Hossain gave the welcome address.

Former President and Council Member Md. Humayun Kabir moderated the discussion. Subhashish Bose, CEO of ICAB, gave the opening remarks.

Hafizur informed that proposal was placed before the last ministerial meeting so that the LDC countries could enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to international market six years beyond the graduation.

"We had convinced the other LDC countries in this regard. The proposal was neither cancelled not accepted in the conference. But, a modest decision was taken keeping provision of further discussion," he added.

Following the proposal of Bangladesh, the WTO Cell Director General said that it was acknowledged for the first time in the conference that the LDC graduating countries has numerous challenges while support could be provided to them for overcoming those challenges in the multilateral trade system.

Based on that decision, Hafizur informed that a revised proposal would be sent before the WTO.

He mentioned that the pharmaceuticals sector of the country has advanced a lot through availing the privileges from the TRIPS agreement adding that another proposal would be sent to keep intact the facilities of TRIPS.

Summarizing the proposal made by the LDC group for the 12th ministerial meeting of the WTO, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Hafizur also said the declaration of the 12th WTO ministerial conference was prepared keeping in mind the geo-political context.

He said following the last decision over international transactions on e-commerce, a big door would be opened in the country in future on revenue mobilization.

ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan said if everything goes well, Bangladesh would become an upper-middle income country by 2031. "Thereafter, Bangladesh will have no duty-free access to the international market. In order to meet these challenges, successful trade negotiations with the international platforms should be continued along with domestic resource mobilization,"

She said the government is working to create an easy business-friendly environment in the country. "However, the private sector should focus on producing its own products, diversification, and the quality rather than just looking at subsidies, so that Bangladesh could attain a sustainable position in international trade."

For the first time, Bangladesh negotiated to get policy recognition from the developed countries to support all middle income countries including Bangladesh to face the challenges; which was never discussed in any such conference before.

Manzur Ahmed, Advisor, FBCCI, Ferdaus Ara Begum, chief executive officer (CEO), Business Initiative Leading Development ( Build), Shishir Kumar Dev, Former CEO, BFTI, Khaimruzzaman Majumder, Additional Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mustafa Abid Khan, Former Member, Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission spoke at the programme.




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