Finance Minister AMA Muhith speaks at a dialogue on the least developed countries at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel yesterday.Photo: STAR
Trade experts yesterday called upon the developed countries to come up with strong political commitment and think 'out of the box' to help the least developed countries reap quick benefits from trade talks.
They called for all-out efforts to ensure an early conclusion of the Doha Development Round (DDR) negotiations.
If an early conclusion is not feasible, it is imperative to ensure an early harvest from the negotiations, they said.
They were speaking at the working session of a three-day international dialogue on exploring new global partnership for the LDCs that began in Dhaka yesterday.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), an independent think tank, organised the discussion in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Centre.
The dialogue aims to prepare a document for the LDC governments before the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs in Istanbul in May next year.
Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, a trade expert from Senegal, moderated the session.
The speakers said the duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) preferences in the OECD countries and in the emerging economies should be expanded to all products from the 49-state bloc.
Love Mtesa, Zambia's former ambassador to the United Nations and World Trade Organisation (WTO), said most LDCs face supply-side constraints while diversifying exports.
Willem van der Geest, lead economist of Division of Market Development of International Trade Centre in Geneva, said measures, which seek to promote fair trade, must be consistent with facilitating market access instead of becoming a hindrance.
David Laborde Debucquet, research fellow of International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, called upon the LDCs to go for full DFQF access without waiting for the Doha Round.
He said there should also be more transparent, simplified and harmonised rules of origin.
Debucquet also asked the LDCs to invest more to create business network.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of CPD, called for a moratorium on trade-distorting practices such as anti-dumping duties and counter-veiling duties in developed and developing markets for facilitating market access for the LDCs.
He said, in addition to continuing and further expanding tariff preference measures, special focus must be given to address non-tariff measures.
Toufiq Ali, former ambassador of Bangladesh in Geneva, Sohel Ahmed Choudhury, former commerce secretary, and Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the CPD, also spoke.