Thursday, June 13, 2024

Experts seek time line for full DF-QF facility for LDCs

Upcoming Wto Ministerial
Experts seek time line for full DF-QF facility for LDCs
Trade expert from across the globe on Saturday demanded that the ninth WTO ministerial meeting should stipulate a specific time line for full implementation of duty- and quota-free facility for the least developed countries in the market of the developed countries.
At an international conference styled ‘Upcoming Ninth WTO Ministerial: Securing the LDCs Deliverable’ held in Dhaka, they said that the developed countries including the USA should announce a time frame for inclusion of the remaining 3 per cent tariff lines which is now remained excluded in duty- and quota-free facility.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue hosted the two-day conference that ended on Saturday with declaring a draft outcome document of the conference.
Switzerland-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, IDEAS Centre, UK-based The Commonwealth, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bangladesh office, Nepal-based South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, and Think Tank Initiative Network were the joint organisers of the conference.
The conference also sought strong commitment from the WTO member countries for not to impose any export restrictions on food grains to the LDCs particularly during the time of food shortages and price volatility.
‘The ninth World Trade Organisation ministerial conference that will be held on December in Indonesia should stipulate a specific time line for fuller integration of the excluded tariff lines by the preference giving countries for implementation of the Hong Kong decision on DF-QF,’ CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman said.
According to the Hong Kong decision, the developed countries committed to provide 100 per cent duty-free market access to the LDCs, he said adding that there is also a provision of providing the facility for 97 per cent tariff lines by the countries which are not in a position to provide full facility.
WTO development division counsellor Taufiqur Rahman said that the USA had granted the facility for 82.5 per cent of tariff lines as part of single undertaking principle of WTO.
Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute director Mostafa Abid Khan said that Bangladesh needed to discuss with the USA for getting the facility at 100 per cent.
Washington-based Center for Global Development senior fellow Kimberly Ann Elliott said that the USA was the only developed country that was well short of the goal of duty- and quota-free market access for all LDCs though it provided duty facilities to the developing countries in Africa and others.
The country also provides generalised system of preferences to some 14 Asian LDCs including Bangladesh. The facility does not cover apparel sector which has to pay 15 per cent average tariff.
Ann Elliott proposed an alternative that would allow LDCs duty- and quota-free market access to the USA without hampering the facility given to the African countries.
The draft outcome of the conference also proposed for strengthening monitoring mechanism in the WTO to advance expeditious implementation of 100 per cent DF-QF facility.
The outcome also said that there should be strong commitment to the provision of technical and financial support for the implementation of a trade facilitation agreement.
It also sought expeditious and effective operationlisation of the LDC service waiver initiative.
Foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque, commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed, CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya, former permanent representative of Bangladesh to the WTO Toufiq Ali, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry adviser Manzur Ahmed attended the programme.
Trade experts and representatives from various international think-tanks were also present.

-With New Age input

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