Tofail to attend WTO conference
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today said Bangladesh will raise demand for complete implementation of all decisions including providing LDCs various trade facilities and GSP in the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Argentine Capital Buenos Aires between December 10 and 13.

"The developed countries promised to give the Least Developed Countries (LDCs various preferential trade facilities but many of them are not fulfilling this commitment. This issue will be discussed in the 11th conference with importance," said Tofail after a meeting at his secretariat office here.

The commerce minister presided over the meeting that discussed Bangladesh's to do list for the WTO ministerial conference.

He will lead a 25-member Bangladesh delegation in the conference. Bangladesh delegation will have talks with the WTO director general, USTR and commerce ministers of different countries.

Tofail said Bangladesh acted as coordinator of LDCs under WTO for a long. Cambodia is now acting as coordinator of LDCs, he added.

As a member of LDCs Bangladesh has got various facilities and many countries including the members of the European Union have given Bangladesh the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), he said, adding that Rules of origin (RoO) has been brought down to 25 percent from 30 percent as per the WTO ministerial conference decision.

Tofail said conditions relating to the export of pharma products have been eased and tenure for such facilities has been extended up to 2033. Efforts are on to increase export facilities for service sector, he said.

But the US is not providing Bangladesh GSP.

The commerce minister said Bangladesh will graduate to a developing nation from LDC by 2024 and the country will get GSP plus from the EU and other developed nations. Move is underway to sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with different countries, he said, adding that signing of FTA with Sri Lanka and Thailand is now at final stage.

He said as per the WTO decision Bangladesh has already signed the paperless trade agreement with Thailand.

"Bangladesh is now ready for paperless work trade . . . Bangladesh has a strong position in the global trade," Tofail added. 

Source: BSS