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CPD doubts full execution of WTO Bali package

Staff Correspondent

Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman speaks at a briefing on the Bali Package in Dhaka on Monday. — New Age photo  Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman speaks at a briefing on the Bali Package in Dhaka on Monday. — New Age photo

The Centre for Policy Dialogue on Monday expressed doubt on full implementation of the Bali Package that members of the World Trade Organisation agreed in Indonesia on Saturday as the agreement has no specific timeframe for implementation.
At a press conference on ‘Bali outcome of the WTO and what it means for Bangladesh’, the leading independent think-tank said though developed countries agreed to provide duty-free and quota-free facilities to least developed countries in their markets, there is no legally binding commitments and no specific timeframe for implementation.
The accord produces no new gains for Bangladesh as without specific timeframe and legally binding commitments for execution, it is hardly going to make any difference
for the least developed countries, said Professor Mustafizur Rahman, CPD executive director, at a press briefing.
Unless the commitment is legally binding with concrete implementation timeframe, Bangladesh
will not get any additional benefits from US market
as its major exporting
product, readymade garment, is on the 3 per cent exclusion list of the USA, he said.
‘Though many of Bangladesh interests have remained unsolved, the conference has created different opportunities for LDCs. Bangladesh should now find out its opportunities and prepare itself for further negotiations for attaining those opportunities from developed countries like USA,’ he said.
The WTO ninth ministerial conference that ended on December 6 in Bali, Indonesia, decided that developed country members do not yet provide
DFQF market access for at least 97 per cent of
produces originating from LDCs shall improve existing DFQF coverage to provide increasingly greater market access to LDCs, prior to next ministerial meeting.
About the WTO meeting in Bali, he said the consensus among the member countries was reached on some issues, including food security and
cotton; otherwise it will be questionable for its existence.
Bali meeting offered a pact to make trade easier, faster and cheaper by smoothing customs procedures and reducing red tape around the world. The agreement also offered better access for less developed nations to the markets of rich countries.
‘Implementation of trade facilitation measures will help reduce cost of trading in Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh will need both technical and financial support towards this,’ CPD research director Fahmida Khatun said.
In order to make preferential rules of origin LDC-friendly, the domestic value addition requirement criteria should be defined in a manner that takes cognizance of domestic supply-side and productive capacity of the Least developed Countries (LDCs), she said.
She said that there is a good opportunity for Bangladesh to increase export of semi-skilled and skilled manpower for garments sector, construction sector, care industry and education sector.
Bangladesh needs to identify its sectors and modes for potential export in services sector and present it at the proposed ‘high level meeting’ in 2014, Fahmida said.
About possible withdrawal of subsidies on cotton, Fahmida said if export subsidies are withdrawn on cotton importing countries, Bangladesh
will have to import cotton at a higher price that could increase the RMG products cost and lose competitiveness.
About LDC issues, she said a monitoring mechanism under WTO will review all aspects of implementation of special and differential provisions which will ultimately provide opportunities for Bangladesh to raise issues under the provision.

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CPD doubts full execution of WTO Bali package

Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman speaks at a briefing on the Bali Package in Dhaka on Monday. — New Age photo
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