Bangladesh has sought further trade facilities from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) upon graduating from the least developed countries (LDCs) list.
"LDCs, including Bangladesh, are enjoying duty-free market access, which needs to be continued for a few more years," Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP said at the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO at the headquarters of the intergovernmental organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Bangladesh is scheduled to move up from the LDCs list in 2026. After that Bangladesh will no longer get duty free market facility. Therefore, the proposal of LDCs to have a duty-free market facility with WTO is very important for Bangladesh," he added.
Tipu Munshi said Bangladesh wants an opportunity to provide subsidies to the fisheries sector.
"We believe that subsidising the fisheries sector in developing countries is essential to increase its expertise. A large number of poor people in many developing countries are involved in the fisheries sector for their livelihood. Therefore, in order to sustain the livelihood of the poor people of the least developed countries, there is a need to provide subsidy to the fisheries sector," he said.
The commerce minister said that in order to reduce the risk of food security, LDC countries need to have the opportunity to stockpile food on a large scale at the government level.
"Bangladesh will support any other WTO reforms, including agriculture. Reforms must be inclusive and transparent, where everyone has a say. The concerns of each member must be taken into account," he added.
"Current situation shows a global food shortage. So the issue has become very important for human survival. It would not be right to suddenly impose export bans on essential food products. In order to stop the export, the importing country must be informed before a certain time. Many are suffering due to the sudden stoppage of food exports," he further said.
Speaking at a press conference on the first day of the summit, WTO Director-General Engoji Okonzo Aiwala said the war in Ukraine has made the food crisis a major challenge for the world.
WTO member states have been urged to come to a consensus on other important issues, including the continuation of trade benefits and non-abrupt stoppage of foodgrain exports.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP, is leading the Bangladesh delegation to the 174-nation WTO meeting.