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25 April 2024

Business Insider Bangladesh

Bangladesh keen to boost bilateral trade with WTO member countries

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:20, 1 March 2024  
Bangladesh keen to boost bilateral trade with WTO member countries

Photo: Collected

The Bangladesh delegation, now participating in the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, held bilateral meetings with other member countries, including China, Japan, Germany, Korea and Singapore, to boost trade with them.

During these meetings, the Bangladesh delegation, led by State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu, emphasized export diversification, keeping intact the duty-free facilities beyond the LDC graduation period, improving the foreign currency situation through import support and expansion of investment.

On the 4th and final day of the conference today, the State Minister for Commerce will hold a meeting with the Indian delegation, reports BSS.

Talking to BSS, Ahsanul said, “Representatives from all the countries usually take part in the multilateral forum like WTO. We have scope to hold important discussions with the important trade partner countries apart from the fixed discussions. We’ve already held meetings with countries like China, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Singapore.”

He said all the countries gave positive responses to the proposals submitted by Bangladesh in the conference that include export diversification, expansion of investment, finding out import substitute means, and simplifying further the trade procedures through bilateral support.

Ahsanul opined that if import procedures could not be simplified through bilateral support, then it would be tough to import raw materials which would put a negative impact on economy as well as on employments.

About outcome of his meeting with the Korean side, the State Minister said that the South Korean investors would invest more in Bangladesh if they are provided with necessary facilities.

The Singaporean side emphasized on modernization of port in Bangladesh and on digital documentation, he mentioned.

Replying to a question, he said it is very much necessary for Bangladesh to prepare authorities concerned for facing the LDC graduation related challenges.

“We don’t have much time to look backwards. So, the government is giving attention to take necessary preparations in this regard,” he added.

He said during his meeting with the Indian side, support in import and export diversification would be sought.

Talking to BSS, renowned economist and distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Dr Mustafizur Rahman said that during the post LDC graduation period, bilateral discussions on issues like duty-free market access, keeping intact the alternate dispute resolution facilities, reducing pressure on the foreign currency reserve through import support and continuing technical support beyond the LDC graduation period are very much important.

Mustafizur said Bangladesh would have to ensure increased duty-free market access facilities through holding bilateral discussions with each and every country. “Under the current circumstances, bilateral discussions are very much important for Bangladesh which the Bangladesh delegation is now pursuing,” he added.

The WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) is taking place from 26 to 29 February, 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Ministers from across the world are attending it to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and to take action on the future work of the WTO.