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Bangla Trade Minister slams CPD over WTO remark
29
Dec '15
Bangladesh's Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has dismissed as 'incorrect' the observation of the private think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) that Bangladesh's achievement from the recent World Trade Organisation conference in Nairobi was 'meagre', Bangladeshi newspapers have reported.

“They (CPD) do not see our progress. Everyone in the WTO conference lauded Bangladesh but CPD failed to see anything,” a combative Ahmed told reporters at the secretariat.

At a press briefing at his ministry, Ahmed said, “The information they (CPD) have provided is incorrect. Bangladesh's interest has been protected the most among the least developed countries.”

Earlier last week, Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of CPD, said at a press briefing, “We (Bangladesh) have come out of the WTO conference with meagre achievement.”

The CPD said Bangladesh could not gain much from the recently held 10th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Nairobi as global leaders failed to reach a consensus on key deals.

Ahmed differed with Bhattacharya and highlighted Bangladesh's 'negotiation success' with regard to the pharmaceutical industry.

The WTO Ministerial Conference held earlier this month in Nairobi, extended a waiver allowing LDCs to avoid intellectual property rights obligations on pharmaceutical products until 2033.

The minister said, “Among LDCs, only Bangladesh has the ability and infrastructure to manufacture pharmaceutical products. LDCs do not have that much interest in the sector. Despite that, we've convinced everyone to do it.”

He claimed that Bangladesh could attain its four main objectives at the conference. “Our achievement has not come in a day. Bangladesh's Permanent Mission in Geneva and the commerce ministry had long been working on that.”

Ahmed said Bangladeshi products were enjoying duty-free access to many countries.

“However, several countries, including the United States, Brazil and Argentina are not extending the facility,” he said.

The minister conceded that Bangladeshi exports to Brazil and Argentina were not that much, but Dhaka was making efforts to reach an understanding with the US.

Washington had suspended the GSP facility for Bangladesh in 2013 following the deaths of over a thousand workers in a fire at Tazreen Fashions and in the collapse of Rana Plaza, which housed several readymade garment factories. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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