Bangladesh on Wednesday sought continuation of duty-free and quota-free market access for countries graduated to developing countries from least developed country status for at least additional 6-10 years after graduation.
The country made the plea to the member countries of the World Trade Organisation during the first day of the fifth review of Bangladesh trade policy being held in Swiss city of Geneva.
Bangladesh in its TPR report, placed its report to the WTO’s trade policy review body, said that WTO members need to develop special programmes for the newly graduated countries for ensuring smooth transition and preventing any unwanted setback.
It also sought extension of exemption from TRIPS obligation particularly for the pharmaceutical products.
Continuation of the DFQF facility, support for capacity building and extension of TRIPS exemption will be critically important for sustainable graduation for the newly graduated countries, the report said, adding that the issues deserved urgent attention of WTO members.
A 16-memebr delegation led by commerce minister Tipu Munshi attended at the review.
Today is reserved for preparation of Bangladesh delegation to prepare answers of queries placed by member countries on Bangladesh’s economic environment, trade and investment regimes, trade policies and practices by measures and trade policies by sector.
Friday is the final day of review when the delegation will reply to queries the country has already received from its global trading partners and will get instantly.
In the report, Bangladesh described its economic progress, and reforms in trade and investment regimes made over the last six years since 2012 when the fourth review took place.
Previously, Bangladesh’s TPR took place in every six years and in future, it will be held in every seven years.
Bangladesh emphasised on preferential trade facilities after potential graduation from the group of LDCs by 2024.
Bangladesh will need to continue the momentum of economic development so that it distances itself furthe from the thresholds which would give a comfort zone from any likely setback as experienced by a number of graduated LDCs, the report said.
WTO secretariat also published a report on Bangladesh.
In the report, it said that Bangladesh’s main trade-related challenges regarding LDC graduation could emanate from the loss of preferences and reduced flexibility in the implementation of WTO agreements.
Upon graduation, Bangladesh would have to bring its laws into conformity with WTO agreements in areas including export subsidies for industrial products and patent protection for pharmaceuticals, it said.