Tofail urges WTO chief to uphold LDCs rights

DHAKA : Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed sought strong support from the chief of the Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO) to realise trade preference for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which they require for attaining sustainable growth, reports BSS.
The commerce minister put forward the request when he met with the Roberto Azev^do in Geneva on Friday, according to a press release issued here today.
At the meeting, the minister emphasised the need for meaningful outcome on rules of origin for LDCs, operationalisation of LDC service waiver, duty-free-quota-free (DFQF) market access for LDCs, extension of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) during transition period of pharmaceutical products and conclusion of Doha Development Agenda (DDA).
Tofail also thanked Roberto Azev^do for taking initiative to have a fruitful outcome on the LDC issues at 10th WTO Ministerial Conference at Nairobi, Kenya scheduled for 15 to 18 December this year.
The minister apprised the DG about the consultation he had with the LDCs Ambassadors in Geneva last week, which gave him the opportunity to exchange the views on how to move forward the LDCs issues in the run up to Nairobi.
The DG viewed the consultation as very timely and effective as the ambassadors just returned after spending their summer break.
He told the commerce minister that he had been trying to push Doha Work programme as much as possible and mentioned that strategic decisions from WTO members, especially from key payers are required to move towards conclusion of DDA.
Roberto expressed his optimism to have a meaningful outcome on LDCs issue, which is likely to include LDCs issues of Bali decisions and other issues of interest to LDCs such as special and differential provisions and indicated that there is a wider support to LDC package in Nairobi.
Tofail told the WTO chief that Bangladesh as a coordinator of LDCs is in the process of finalising the proposal of LDCs in consultation with other LDC members and would submit the proposal by the end of September.
He emphasized the need for implementation of Hong Kong Ministerial decision on DFQF market access for LDCs and informed the DG that LDC group is in the process of formulating common position on this issue. The commerce minister appreciated the supports and cooperation of the WTO chief and his organisation to Bangladesh in its functions as the LDCs Coordinator.
The DG also appreciated the active role played by Bangladesh as present LDCs Coordinator to move forward the LDC agenda for the greater interest of LDCs as well as for Bangladesh.
Tofail was accompanied by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh in Geneva M Shameem Ahsan and Dr. Mostafa Abid Khan, Minister, Bangladesh Mission.


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