In the context of Bangladesh's transition from a Least Developed Country (LDC) to a developing country, it is necessary to continue the active participation of Bangladesh in the discussion or negotiation process with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to continue the International Support Measures (ISMs) in the days to come, said experts at a seminar.
They also emphasised internal capacity building, export diversification, foreign direct investment and skill enhancement for preparing the country for the post-graduation scenario.
"Although the outcome of the Ministerial Conference-12 of WTO fell short of meeting the expectations of the graduating LDCs, it recognised the need for certain measures for their smooth and sustainable graduation," said Commerce Ministry Senior Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh at a seminar on "WTO MC-12: Implications for Graduating LDCs" held yesterday at the Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) Foundation in Dhaka on Tuesday.
"We still need to actively negotiate at the bilateral and multilateral level to secure the continuation of ISMs beyond graduation," he added.
According to the UN, ISMs have been developed for LDCs in the context of international agreements and organisations as well as by individual countries, educational institutions and others.
Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP) under Economic Relations Division (ERD) organised the seminar to analyse the key takeaways for Bangladesh from the recently concluded 12th MC-12 in Geneva from 12 to 17 June 2022.
The seminar also discussed the next course of action for the MC-13 in the context of Bangladesh's scheduled graduation from LDC status in November 2026.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh was the chief guest of the inaugural session of the seminar while ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan chaired the session.
At the seminar, ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan said it is a suitable time for the reforms of the WTO. Bangladesh should take an active role in that reform process. She also emphasised improving productivity, enhancing skills and technology transfer for increasing competitiveness in the international market.
Director General of the WTO Cell of the Ministry of Commerce Md Hafizur Rahman, who delivered the keynote presentation at the seminar, said the submission of the LDC group for continuing ISMs needs to be revised in the context of the new global scenario.
He also emphasised conducting studies on graduation issues to support the negotiators while engaging in bilateral negotiations and keeping the developing countries on board.
The inaugural session of the seminar was followed by a business session.
Former Member of Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission Mostafa Abid Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Business Initiative Leading Development Ferdaus Ara Begum and International Trade Expert of SSGP, ERD Nesar Ahmed were the panellists of the session.
A number of representatives from various trade bodies, private sector, government, and think tanks participated in the discussion and underscored the need for simplification of trade facilitation-related issues and capacity building to remain competitive in the post-graduation regime.