Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has urged the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to continue offering flexibilities and exemptions specific to least developed countries (LDC) even after such nations graduate from this category.
Making the request on Tuesday at a meeting with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at her Geneva office, the minister highlighted Bangladesh's impressive development trajectory under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
"This leadership has enabled the country to be eligible for graduation from the LDC category in 2026," said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release, quoting Momen on Wednesday.
While conveying satisfaction for the TRIPS Council's recent decision to allow the LDCs with an exemption period until 1 July 2034, the foreign minister also expressed concerns about possible negative impacts on the development momentum of countries if they lose international support measures (ISMs) upon graduating from LDC status.
Referring to the LDC group's submission in the WTO for extension of LDC-specific ISMs, Momen expressed optimism for a favourable decision in the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference to be held this November in Geneva.
The foreign minister also held meetings with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, and Director General of ILO, Guy Ryder, at their offices on the same day.
During his meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Momen stressed the international community's responsibility towards establishing and supporting accountability and justice for the major human rights violations perpetrated against the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
He reiterated Bangladesh's strong commitment to promoting a safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingya in a conducive environment to Myanmar, and conveyed Bangladesh's readiness to work with the country, UNCHR, OHCHR, and other concerned parties, to bring about a sustainable and durable solution.
During his meeting with Guy Ryder, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen highlighted the incremental progress that Bangladesh has made in the RMG sector, which was duly recognised and appreciated by the ILO director-general.
Terming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a "Friend of Workers," Momen pointed out the initiatives taken by the government of Bangladesh during the pandemic for the welfare and protection of workers in the RMG sector.
He noted that no garment factory worker was terminated from service during the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to different stimulus packages and initiatives of the Government of Bangladesh.
Momen is on a 3-day visit to Geneva to participate in the Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting of the LDCs, convened jointly by the Government of Bangladesh, UN-OHRLLS, and UN-ESCAP, at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, in preparation for the Fifth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (UNLDC-5).