Govt to start negotiation in WTO soon to retain trade benefits


DHAKA, Feb 24, 2020 (BSS) – Bangladesh plans to start soon negotiation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to retain the existing trade preferences with major exporting nations after its graduation from the least developed country (LDC) status.

It would approach in collaboration with 10 other countries which are also in the process of graduation.

“We will negotiate in the WTO soon to continue the trade benefits during the transition period of five to ten years,” Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman Patwary, director (deputy secretary) of the WTO Cell under the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), told a workshop here on Sunday.

The Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) with the support of MoC organised the two-day workshop on ‘WTO and Trade Policy’ at its auditorium here.

Director General (additional secretary) of the WTO Cell Md Kamal Hossain spoke on the issue while director of the cell Md Hafizur Rahman gave a presentation on dispute settlement in the WTO.

Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) member Dr. Mostafa Abid Khan spoke on different aspects of Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Dr. Abid said bilateral FTA is not gaining popularity due to ‘fear of unknown’. Bangladesh is yet to sign any bilateral FTA with any country.

“The major focus of the country is to get market access and that’s why the intra-regional trade is not increasing,” he added.

He said Bangladesh needs to develop its expertise to negotiate on e-commerce, intellectual property rights and other technical issues in the WTO.

Md Hafizur Rahman in his presentation said most of the disputes have been settled at the consultation stage in the WTO.