Dhaka suggests ways to better multilateral trading system

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Bangladesh has placed six proposals to make the multilateral trading system more effective recognising the importance of it for sustainable development, reports UNB.
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Md Nojibur Rahman placed the recommendations at the high-level thematic panel discussion titled 'trade, science, technology, innovation and capacity building' of the 4th ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FFD) at the UN Headquarters on Thursday.
Sofie Maddens, Head, Regulatory Market Environment Division, ITU and Miho Shirotori, Chief, Global & Regional Trade Analysis Section, UNCTAD were the other panelists of the event.
The Principal Secretary said the international community must promote a universal, rule-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system.
Implementation of the WTO Ministerial decisions was very important for the promotion of trade, he said.
Second, according to Nojibur Rahman, it is imperative for the WTO to address the current challenges to the international trading system, according to a press release.
"It needs to be ensured that development remains at the front and centre of the multilateral trading system," he said.
Sharing his third recommendation Nojibur Rahman said issues such as trade barriers, trade-distorting subsidies, and other trade-distorting measures must be addressed.
According to his 4th proposal, the Doha Development Agenda aimed at addressing the systemic imbalances in the multilateral trading system needed to be concluded.
Besides, his fifth proposal is that digital platforms and fintech can help strengthen trade financing for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises).
Finally, he said 'Aid for trade' support should be increased for the capacity building, diversification, value addition and integration of the low income countries into the global value chains.
Highlighting different steps taken by Bangladesh in the use of technology-innovation, digital economy and e-commerce, the Principal Secretary said Bangladesh, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was making inroads into a digital society to reap the potentials of e-commerce.
"This was possible as we laid an essential foundation for a technology-driven and skills-based digital economy," he said.
The Principal Secretary also referred to the UNCTAD e-Trade Readiness Assessment that recognised Bangladesh's bright prospect in e-commerce and equitable distribution of the benefits of it throughout the economy because of its remarkable progress in telecommunications infrastructure, trade logistics, payment solutions, laws and regulations, skills development, and financing.
Mentioning that the developing and least developed countries started the e-commerce only recently, the Principal Secretary said to reap the benefits of e-commerce and to minimise the risks, and also to gain people's confidence, countries would have to address the barriers to business from an 'ecosystem perspective.
He said the new 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) tools such as automation, 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, should be aligned with the expansion of the e-commerce because still some countries remained at the 2IR or 3IR level.
He stressed full realisation of Sustainable Development Goal target 17.12 which calls for 'duty-free and quota-free' market access for all least developed countries and transparent and simple rules of origin.
Nojibur Rahman along with other panelists discussed several issues such as the steps needed to recognise the multilateral trading system for sustainable development, the equitable distribution of trade benefits, impacts of emerging trends in technology, including in e-commerce on the global landscape for trade etc.