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The Boon and Bane of LDC Graduation: The Bangladesh Experience

Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury
  • Opinion by Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury (singapore)
  • Inter Press Service

Graduation is for Bangladesh a mixture of boon and bane. It is a boon as a result of it’s an acknowledgment of progress, a significant milestone within the nation’s growth journey. It would enhance the nation’s world picture which ought to give it higher credit score rankings. This would permit it to borrow extra cheaply on the world market. It is a bane as a result of it will finally lose all of the preferences accorded to LDCs in world commerce corresponding to below the European Union’s Everything however Arms (EBA) initiative. However, Bangladesh has not fairly optimized on these benefits.

Incidentally, as chair of the WTO Committee of Trade and Development, as additionally of the LDC Group in Geneva within the late Nineties and early 2000, and additionally as Special Advisor to Secretary General Rubens Ricupero of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), I used to be concerned with the associated deliberations with the European Union. Bangladesh has all the time performed a management function on behalf of the LDCs in all multilateral negotiations, each on the WTO in Geneva and on the United Nations in New York. Sometimes these concerned not solely powerful deliberations with developed international locations and ‘economies in transition’ (former socialist international locations) , but in addition with creating member-States of the Group of 77 (as a result of it entailed the sharing of the cake).Bangladesh’s commencement will in some ways deprive the LDCs of this capability. Across the diplomatic scene, Bangladesh may additionally rely on the help of fellow-LDCs on a broad vary of points. I might gratefully recall the contribution on this regard of the so-called “Utstein Sisters” of Europe (named after a venue in Northern Europe the place they met), 5 ladies Development Cooperation Ministers, together with Evelyn Herfkens of the Netherlands and Claire Short of the UK. They had been ardent advocates of LDC aspirations, and had been instrumental, amongst different issues, within the WTO’s acceptance, not like within the case its predecessor, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT), of the broad precept that commerce is a key software of growth.

Following commencement, Bangladesh might want to negotiate a continuation of worldwide help measures to render the commencement course of easy and sustainable. If wants be, even after the grace interval of quota-free duty- free market entry vis-à-vis Europe until 2029. Though in Brussels the EU may lower Bangladesh some slack as a result of of its efficiency, on the WTO, Bangladesh, might be nicely suggested to aim a norm setting train with regard to graduating international locations with the brand new Director General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who’s empathetic, in addition to with the membership. This will take some skillful diplomacy. But I wish to strongly underscore that negotiations are however the tip of the ice- berg. The essential problem would lie in tackling the basics beneath. For occasion, in addressing domestically the 27 necessities, together with corruption, non-compliances, and different inadequacies, throughout the governance spectrum to realize GSP -plus standing. Also, to derive different world market advantages.

Comparative benefits must be remodeled into aggressive benefit. Low-wages will are inclined to perpetuate poverty. So wage-rise, a vital software for poverty mitigation, would must be rigorously calibrated with the rise in productiveness. Economy ought to diversify, notably into providers, which don’t face items tariff and therefore much less affected by loss of preferences. The Internet sector, on which the federal government is prudently laser-focused, will help Bangladesh leapfrog into financial modernity. The pharmaceutical business ought to critically mirror on the way to navigate WTO rules on Trade in Intellectual Property, or TRIPS. Mutually rewarding preparations with different Asian financial powerhouses are referred to as for. For occasion, Free Trade Agreement with a rustic like Singapore may, and I take advantage of the phrase ‘could’ advisedly, unlock potentials, however that might require additional critical examine and examination.

Throughout my negotiating profession I had felt that preferences have a tendency solely to extend ache. There are not any things like associates within the market. The sooner we begin to confront the true world of competitors the higher off we’re. Indeed, if we will play our playing cards proper, the commencement may very well be our ‘’break-out” second to mirror on reforms, on elevating productiveness and on boosting development. Efforts have to be directed in direction of shifting up the worth chain by attracting high quality FDI. From my present perch within the company sector in Singapore, I see Vietnam for instance worthy of emulation.

So, to conclude, commencement is inevitable if progress is the aim, because it have to be, and certainly fascinating, simply as, in our particular person lives, coming of age, that’s of turning 21, is. Readiness is vital. From what I see, there may be nothing just like the final minute in rushing up requisite preparations. Doubtless, there may be a lot work to be executed. But we should keep in mind that if there’s a hill to climb, ready is not going to make it any smaller!

Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury is the Honorary Fellow on the Institute of South Asia Studies, NUS. He is a former Foreign Advisor (Foreign Minister) of Bangladesh and President & Distinguished Fellow of Cosmos Foundation. The views addressed within the article are his personal. He may be reached at: [email protected]

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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal supply: Inter Press Service

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