Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen has called for meaningful transfer of technology, access to aid for trade and intellectual property rights waiver so that least developed countries can also produce Covid-19 vaccines and other life-saving medicines.
He was speaking at a virtual programme on enhancing international trade and regional integration for the LDCs, held at the United Nations headquarters on Thursday.
Although the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs announced its target in 2011 of doubling the share of these countries in global trade in one decade, Momen said that ‘unfortunately in the past 10 years, the share of the LDCs in global trade has rather decreased’.
The foreign minister also stressed the need for South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the area of trade and technological cooperation for benefitting the LDCs. He also highlighted the catalytic role that aid for trade can play in helping the least developed countries.
He referred to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which had set a target to increase the share of the LDCs, and flagged that the target was yet to be fulfilled.
Momen referred to the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the economy of the LDCs and advocated for providing support to such countries in the area of digital infrastructure, in particular e-commerce.
He also referred to the sharp decrease in the income of the LDCs from services sector during the pandemic, saying that because of the dependence mostly on the tourism sector, ‘many of the least developed economies are suffering now’.
He also called for enabling safe, regular and orderly mobility from the LDCs in this regard.
Momen also demanded immediate implementation of all decisions of the WTO Ministerial Meetings in favour of the LDCs, including removal of non-tariff and different standards-related barriers.
He stressed on the importance of transfer of technologies to the LDCs, as provided for in WTO rules to address the digital divide between the developed countries and the least developed ones.
The foreign minister also flagged the importance of affordable access to Covid vaccines by the LDCs.
He highlighted that there was a huge shortage of vaccines in the LDCs, and suggested that these countries should be provided with financial and technical support for producing Covid jabs and other life-saving medicines.
Momen also called on the developed and developing countries to help the graduating LDCs, and stressed the need for continued support to them for 12 years after graduation.
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