Intervention by H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at Second Committee on agenda items 17(a): Trade and Development. CR-2, CB, 24 October 2013
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for giving me the floor.
1. Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements made by the representatives of Group of 77 and China, and Benin on behalf of Least Developed Countries.
2. Let me thank the Secretary General for a comprehensive report that outlines the details of the present global trends in the area of international trade. This report is indeed useful. I also acknowledge with appreciation the important role that our colleagues are playing at UNCTAD and WTO in Geneva for mainstreaming trade into the global development agenda.
3. Importance of trade in ensuring development has been recognized quite some time ago. Recently in Rio, Member countries of the UN reaffirmed that trade can play a critical role “in stimulating economic growth and development worldwide, thereby benefitting all countries at all stages of development as they advance towards sustainable development”. Trade, Mr. Chair, is of course not the magic bullet, but definitely increased trade can boost the economy of a country by increased production and even consumption, leading to employment generation, better quality of life, and creating long term positive effect on the entire population. This indeed can assist us to address the greatest global challenge as identified in Rio – the challenge of poverty eradication.
4. Mr. Chair, trade is an area, among others, where LDCs are significantly lagging behind, even from other developing countries. According to the latest available data, LDCs’ total share to the global trade is stagnating at around 1.2%, although number of LDCs has increased to 49 countries. Secondly, it is uneven and concentrated in few items. May I remind you that in 1971, there were 25 LDCs and their share to the global trade was around 1% and during the last four decades, there is not much significant improvement and it means given the current international financial architecture and trade regime, I mean, the ‘business-as-usual’ approach is not going to help them much.
5. To ensure that trade truly acts as an engine for development for the LDCs, it is important that all LDCs get duty-free quota-free market access for all of their products in all developed countries and high-income developing countries. We acknowledge with appreciation that many developed countries have fulfilled their commitments made at the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting.
May I draw the attention of other developed countries that have not yet done so to fulfill their commitments immediately. We also call upon the developing countries as well to come forward and provide duty-free quota-free market access for all products from all LDCs, as enhancement of LDC trade will be a win-win situation for all.
6. Duty-free quota-free market access is not meaningful if it is not accompanied by preferential Rules of Origin that are simple, transparent and predictable and that contribute to facilitating market access. SG’s report mentions that even in countries where LDCs get duty free market access, the utilization of this preference may be low because of other restrictions. In fact, stringent and complicated Rules of Origin also act as a barrier to meaningful market access. Therefore it is important to have a clean and comprehensive package.
7. With less than two months to go before the WTO Ministerial Meeting to be held in Bali, we call upon all Members to fulfill their all existing commitments, and to provide meaningful development dividend for LDCs at the Ministerial Meeting in December.
8. Trade is inter-linked to access to global credit, interest rate, insurance, shipping, transportation, packaging, inspection and related costs besides tariff and NTBs and other trade regulations. In any international financial crisis, LDCs suffer most as much of these facilities are unavailable at affordable price to the LDCs. Therefore, World Bank, IMF and WTO should work together in a coherent and holistic manner to address these needs for LDCs and its trade.
9. Without mainstreaming LDCs into global development discourse, international community cannot expect to ensure the future we want with sustainable development at its core, as without eradicating poverty, no development is sustainable. And to ensure poverty eradication, trade has been playing a pivotal role.
10. In this context, we appreciate the SG’s report that concludes that trade should be in a central role in the post 2015 development agenda, and we strongly share this view. While tackling the issue of international cooperation in the context of post 2015 development agenda, should we be mindful of the not so successful scenario of MDG-8? Bangladesh has already prepared its national strategy paper on post 2015 development agenda, where trade has been given due importance. May I appeal the global community to work collectively to ensure that trade is incorporated as a major component of international cooperation in the post 2015 development agenda.
11. Let me assure you, Mr. Chair, as always, my delegation is committed to engage and contribute substantively in the area of trade and development.