Economists and experts on Thursday said that Bangladesh should negotiate issues related to trade benefits in the 13 th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization not as an least developed country but as a future non-LDC developing country in an aim to make the graduation sustainable. At a Knowledge Sharing Session on ‘13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO: What Stakes for Bangladesh?’ held at the National Press Club in the city, economists said that at the upcoming MC13 the LDC should advocate for extending trade benefits for graduating LDCs.
A local think tank Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) with the support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom organized the programme.
The MC13 will be held from February 26-29 in Abu Dhabi.
Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Mashiur Rahman attended the programme as chief guest. Former Senior Secretary Sharifa Khan, Centre for Policy Dialogue Distinguished Fellow Mustafizur Rahman, trade policy analyst Mostafa Abid Khan, RAPID chairman M A Razzaque, head of online, Prothom Alo, Shawkat Hossain Masum and the Financial Express Planning Editor Asjadul Kibria spoke atthe event.
Experts in the event said that WTO members would have differing priority issues for MC13.
Securing an agreement on fisheries subsidies negotiation, embarking on border reforms and dysfunctional dispute settlement system would be the key issues in the conference, they said. Mustafizur Rahman said that Bangladesh would have to keep in mind the interest of the developing country during the negotiation in the WTO.
He said that Bangladesh would have to take preparation for some reforms as the country would graduate in November 2026.
After the graduation Bangladesh would not get TRIPS weaver and the country would pay for the patent license to produce medicine, he said.
Bangladesh should go for reverse engineering which could allow the country to use the formula without
paying any charge, Mustafiz said.
Regarding fisheries subsidy he said that Bangladesh would face challenges on the issue after graduation
as subsidy would allow for a developing country if its share of the global marine fish catch does not
exceed 0.8 per cent but the share of Bangladesh crossed the threshold.
Mustafiz said that the government agencies consider the exact hilsa as marine case fish but th4e country
extracts it from river bodies.
Mashiur Rahman said that after the LDC graduation Bangladesh would not be entitled for TRIPS weaver
and the pharmaceutical sector would face pressure as the country made some delay in taking
preparation to face the challenges.
He said that Bangladesh still has no preparation to extract marine resources or a blue economy.
A separate ministry of a dedicated agency was needed to extract the marine resources, Mashiur said.
Sharifa Khan said that after the LDC graduation Bangladesh would enjoy duty free market access up to
2029 and after then the country would not net duty free market access in the European countries.
For availing duty free access the country would have to apply with the European Union and implement
32 international conventions including human rights and rules of law, she said.
‘Bangladesh has signed all the conventions but there are some problems in implementation. After
fulfilling all the conditions there was a question whether the RMG would get duty free