To uphold the interests of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in general and Bangladesh’s inclusive development needs in particular, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has outlined a seven-point proposal.
Manzur Ahmed, an adviser of FBCCI, explained the proposals to FE.
The apex trade body of the country has also urged the government of Bangladesh as well as other LDCs to include the submissions in the LDC Ministerial Declaration for the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12).
The MC12 will take place from November 30 to December 3, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland. MC12 was originally scheduled to take place from 8 to 11 June 2020 in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
FBCCI said that the WTO Director-General's remarks that equitable access to medicines for Covid-19 is both the moral and economic issue of the time are appreciable. In this connection, FBCCI urged WTO members to support the proposed temporary waiver of Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement “to combat the Covid-19 pandemic by ramping up production of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to ensure equitable and affordable access worldwide.”
FBCCI also requested the LDCs to express solidarity with the WTO Director-General on her assertion that LDCs' services trade is severely affected most notably in the tourism and transport sectors due to the pandemic.
In this connection, the country’s apex trade body underscored the need to urge WTO members to move beyond LDC Services Waiver 2011 and notify an “Understanding on the interpretations of Articles IV and XIX of the GATS” on “special priority to providing effective market access in sectors and modes of supply of export interest to LDCs” under paragraph 2 of GATT Article IX (WTO decision making Rules) of the WTO Agreement for most effectively enhancing LDCs' incremental participation in global services trade.
FBCCI also strongly supported the "Making MSMEs Competitive through Intellectual Property (IP) and Innovation" submitted by Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, the United Kingdom and the United States.
FBCCI observed that WTO members need to carry forward and implement the package of declarations and decisions adopted by the Working Group on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and the proposal put forward by Brazil, on how to help rural MSMEs introduce efficiencies to meet the international demand for their products.
Focusing on e-commerce, FBCCI urged the WTO members to “carry forward negotiations on Rules on e-commerce covering online consumer protection, paperless trading, open government data, open internet access, tariff measures on e-commerce, and electronic signatures and authentication with the objective to ensure an open, transparent, inclusive process.”
FBCCI further called upon WTO members to strive together to recommission a fully equipped dispute resolution system by resolving the impasse over the appointment of new Appellate Body members as soon as possible and re-establishing a functioning WTO Dispute Settlement System.
Finally, FBCCI strongly urged WTO members for taking pragmatic steps to identify where agreement may be reached on critically important rules of direct relevance to the 21st-century economy and contemporary sustainability concerns in MC12. These include ongoing negotiations on agriculture, fisheries subsidies, rules of origin, e-commerce, domestic regulation in services and environmental goods and services.