Bangladesh on Tuesday sought WTO support to address trade-related challenges, which the country may face after its graduation to a middle income country from the LDC category.
“The WTO needs to address those challenges in post-graduation phase in line with the General Assembly resolution 59/209 adopted in 2004,” said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Tuesday.Speaking at the WTO Ministerial Meeting, Munshi stressed that any decision, provision and agreement negotiated within the WTO must be directed towards increasing trading opportunity for developing countries and LDCs.
He attached importance to ensuring that the decision making process is open, transparent and inclusive saying that in the recent past, the process at the WTO has not been transparent, nor does it allow the full participation of all WTO members especially developing country members.
With Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu in the chair, commerce ministers and vice-ministers of different countries made their statements in the meeting that formally began yesterday with a senior official level meeting.
The commerce minister is leading a four-member Bangladesh delegation to the meeting. The delegation includes DG (BD), WTO Munir Chowdhury, Member of Tariff Commission Dr. Mostafa Abid and WTO Deputy Director (Bangladesh) Md. Khalilur Rahman.
In the meeting, the Bangladesh commerce minister highlighted the phenomenal economic growth of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the graduation of Bangladesh from LDC categories to middle income countries.
Regarding the dispute resolution issue of the appellate body, Tipu Munshi said that as an advocate of the multilateral trading system, Bangladesh considers dispute settlement mechanism as a key pillar of the WTO although the country is not involved in any dispute yet.He underlined the need for engaging constructively, including at political level to fill the vacancies of the appellate body without any delay.
In this connection, he asked the member states to preserve the principle of agreement establishing the WTO in an effective manner.
The agreement recognizes that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries especially LDCs secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.
About reforms of WTO, he said the growing trend towards regional and mega-regional trade agreements is a result of mistrust in the multilateral process that requires initiating a reform process.
He called upon the members to develop a position incorporating common interest saying “our active engagement is a key to ensuring a development-oriented outcome through WTO reform”.
Commerce ministers, vice-ministers and representatives of 22 WTO countries, both developing nations and LDCs, participated in the two-day meeting.
The countries are-Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and Uganda.