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About the matrter, distinguished fellow of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Mustafizur Rahman told Prothom Alo that the proposal placed by Chad is very important for Bangladesh.

According to a WTO survey, Bangladesh will face 90 per cent of the loss that 12 LDC graduating countries will incur if they lose trade facilities. So, Bangladesh can play a strong role in implementing the proposal placed by Chad, he added.

What it is happening at WTO?

The WTO general council, held in Geneva on 1, 2 and 4 March, has accepted Chad’s proposal and recommended continuing talks on it. No member country opposed the proposal. On 1 March, new WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took over charge. She is the first woman and African head of the WTO. Since joining office, she has included the issue of LDC graduation in various trade talks.

According to sources at the WTO headquarter, LDCs have come together on the proposal of Chad. The Group of LDCs will now sit with the countries with big economy. The LDC countries share 1 per cent of the global trade. So, if any country enjoys trade facility even after the graduation, no major change will happen in global trade.

Currently, pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh do not need to pay the inventing companies for patent rights. Paying for patent rights may increase price of medicines and poor people will loss access to medicine at reasonable prices. Now Bangladesh can provide subsidies on various products and services of industry and agriculture sector to survive in the competitive market. Cash assistance is given on export earnings or remittance. Objection may be raised against these privileges if the country is graduated from the LDC status. Besides, loan with easy terms and condition and low interest from international aid agencies would also be difficult.

Who are LDCs?

The United Nations has categorised the countries in two classes considering economic and social factors – developing and developed. In 1971, the UN recognised some of the developing countries as the least developed countries (LDCs) as they have weaker economy.

*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna

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