Tofail expresses doubt over outcome of WTO moot

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:27, Dec 04,2017 | Updated: 00:03, Dec 05,2017

 
 

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed speaks at a press conference on the eve of MC11 of WTO at the Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka on Monday. — New Age photo

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Monday expressed his doubt over the outcome of 11th ministerial conference of WTO to be held in Buenos Aires on December 10-13 as the United States has refused to take into consideration the organisation’s previous declarations.
‘The US has already declared that it would not take into consideration the previous declarations of ministerial conference and I am in doubt whether any declaration would be made in MC11 this year,’ the commerce minister said at a press conference on the eve of MC11 of WTO at Bangladesh Secretariat.
A 28-member delegation comprised of government officials and private sector representatives led by the commerce minister will attend the MC11 at Argentina.
He said that Bangladesh would repeat its demands including duty-free quota-free market access to developed countries, service waiver for least developed countries, fisheries subsidy and subsidy for agriculture.
The cross-border paperless trade would be one of the important issues that Bangladesh will place in the MC11, Tofail said.
‘Though the US declared that it would not entertain the previous agreements of World Trade Organisation, we will continue our demands and negotiations to implement the decisions taken earlier,’ he said.
He feared that MC11 might not be fruitful due to differences between several countries, especially negative attitude of the US.
He said that Bangladesh would not remain least developed rather the country will graduate to a middle income country by 2021 and it is taking preparation for getting generalised system of preferences plus.
‘In MC11 we will highlight that Bangladesh is going to graduate from the LDC and we will seek the benefits eligible for the middle income country,’ the commerce minister said.
He, however, said that WTO deflected from its fundamental principles and the organisation lost its importance due to multilateral and regional trading system.
The commerce minister said that Bangladesh would repeat its demand to implement Doha development agenda including agreement on trade facilitation, preferential rules of origin and duty free and quota free market access for LDCs.
Bangladesh would also raise voice for the implementation of Nairobi Package including special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, preferential rules of origin for LDCs and implementation of preferential treatment in favour of services and service suppliers of LDCs and increasing LDC participation in services trade.
International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh president Mahbubur Rahman, former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mir Nasir Hossain, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association former vice president Mohammad Hatem, among others, were present at the press conference.

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