Continue duty-free access for countries graduating from LDCs: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the G20 to continue providing duty-free, quota-free market access and extension of unilateral tariff preferences for countries transitioning from LDCs to developing nations.
She also asked for the extension of TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waivers, for a significant period after the graduation, to ensure smooth and sustainable transition.
Speaking at the G20 summit on the theme of "One Family" in New Delhi this afternoon, Hasina urged the G20 to stand by vulnerable economies keeping their markets open to ensure smooth, timely and predictable supply of essential goods and commodities, including agricultural products.
She, however, did not name any country in this context, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
This was her second speech at the summit today. Earlier in the morning, she spoke on the theme "One World."
Hasina said Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine conflict, sanctions and counter-sanctions have led to worldwide supply chain disruptions and crises of food, fuel and fertilizer imposing unbearable stress on living conditions for people all over the world.
"I believe that G20 would be supportive to the development process of developing countries," she added.
Hasina pressed for the implementation of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals saying it should remain on top of the agenda of all multilateral initiatives, including G20.
She said women, half of the global population, should get equal attention for building peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.
She also called for strengthening South-South and triangular cooperation with support from partners, international financial institutions, private sectors and other stakeholders for ensuring human development globally.
"Though we talk of one world, one family, are we doing anything to show it? Every night, over 800 million people, or 10% of global population, go hungry.
"Whereas, the world annually spends on military $1.9 trillion, only 5.5 billion for 26 hours of military spending, could ensure food for the most vulnerable. Also, food wasted worldwide annually could feed 2 billion people. Instead, sadly the rich countries are reducing aid for the poor as in the case of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh PM said.
"A war-ravaged Bangladesh, born in 1971, had negative growth. But under the father of the nation and my father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the growth rate reached over 9 %. Tragically, in 1975, he was brutally killed with most of his family members. The following 21 years saw military and quasi-military rule, and stagnant socio-economic progress," Hasina said.
She said Bangladesh witnessed phenomenal socio-economic transformations in the last 14.5 years with significant poverty reduction from 41.5 % to 18.7 %, extreme poverty to 5.6 %, and the per capita income increased five-fold.
According to Hasina, implementation of the 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development Goals remained her government's topmost priority.
Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in universal primary education. Literacy rate has increased from 45 % in 2006 to 75.6 % in the last one and a half decade. Currently, the primary school enrollment rate is 98 %, she said.
The PM said Bangladesh has also achieved remarkable success in the health sector with the average life expectancy going up from 59 years in 2006 to 73 years now, infant mortality rate declining to 21 per thousand from 84, while maternal mortality rate to 161 from 370 per hundred thousand.
Bangladesh, she said, is a strong champion of women empowerment. According to the Gender Gap Index Report of 2022 of the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh is at the top position among South Asian countries.
Hasina said, "We aspire to transform Bangladesh by 2041 into a knowledge-based, modern, developed country, or 'Sonar Bangla' -- as envisioned by the Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Recalling that almost five decades ago, it was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had urged to generate a sense of urgency for building a just international economic order in the face of "great economic upheavals", Hasina said that taking the current global economy into account, it is high time to work collectively for a just and fair economic order.