The government has formed a core group to advise Bangladesh’s position on Doha Round negotiation as the ninth ministerial conference of World Trade Organisation (WTO) is scheduled to be held in Bali, Indonesia in the first week of December this year. Official sources said on trade facilities and negotiation.
Majority of the group members are representatives from different trade bodies, group convenor and Bangladesh Tariff Commission Member Dr Mostafa Abid Khan told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday, following formation of the 13-member group.
He said the core group will sit together as and when necessary to decide strategy and suggest the Trade Facilities and Negotiation Working Group and National Board of Revenue.
The WTO cell issued a circular on the formation of the core group with representatives from Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and C & F Agents Association.
Broadly, the Doha Round of negotiations is known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) aims at achieving major reforms in international trading practices through introduction of lower trade barriers and revised trade rules.
The DDA work programme covers about 20 areas of trade. In addition to some of the issues taken up prior to the Doha ministerial such as agriculture, services, and intellectual property rights, the DDA work programme included, among others, facilitation of trading prospects of the developing countries in a large array of activities.
WTO Director-General-elect, Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo, told a recent press conference in Brazil’s Foreign Ministry in Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil, that his greatest challenge after assuming office would be to make the Doha Development Round move forward.
Negotiations for the Doha Round have been suspended for years due to differences on issues such as trade barriers and agricultural subsidies, Xinhua reported from Rio De Janeiro.
Azevedo said that the dilemma will have to be addressed once negotiations for the Doha Round are resumed.
“It is politically impossible to contemplate other areas and leave agriculture out. Industrial goods, services and agriculture were in the core of the Doha Round in 2008 and will continue to be once it is resumed.” He said.
The diplomat admitted that the current scenario is not favourable to the fall of trade barriers because of the adverse effects of the 2008 financial crisis.
“Some 20% of the protectionist measures introduced since 2008 have been lifted, which means that 80% are still active,” Azevedo said, stressing the importance of resuming negotiations to the world trade club.