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Pharma industry needs to face post-LDC challenges

Experts for integrated action plan to survive in future

14 August 2022


Staff Reporter :
Economists and experts have emphasized on successful trade negotiations with the international platforms to face post-LDC graduation challenges.
In the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), assistance to underdeveloped countries through subsidies has always been discussed, but such assistance to middle-income countries to face the challenges of transition from LDCs has not been discussed before, they said.
However, this is the first time all middle-income countries, including Bangladesh, have received a sort of assurance of cooperation in principle from the developed countries, they added.
This has created a ground for more detailed discussion for such cooperation in the future, they opined while speaking at a roundtable on "Results of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference" organized by Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) at a city hotel on Saturday.
The results of the conference were as of deep sea fishing subsidies, agricultural subsidies, maintenance of trade facilities of the concerned countries after transition from LDCs-etc. But the participating countries could not come to a decision on any of these issues, they said.
Sharifa Khan, Secretary of the Department of Economic Relations of Ministry of Finance said, "If everything goes well, Bangladesh will become an upper-middle income country by 2031. Thereafter, Bangladesh will have no duty-free access to the international market. In order to meet these challenges, successful trade negotiations with the international platforms should be continued along with domestic resource mobilization."
"The government is working to create an easy business friendly environment in the country. However, the private sector should focus on producing its own products, diversification, and the quality rather than just looking at subsidies, so that Bangladesh could attain a sustainable position in international trade," she added.
She said that by acquiring talent, skills and experience in the service sector, we should move forward in the foreign market and in this case, subsidies or easy access will not be useful tools.
She said the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh is benefiting somewhat from the intellectual property rights.
"As a result, companies are getting access to various software and foreign books at a lower cost, although it is difficult to say how long this benefit will last. So the domestic pharmaceutical industry needs to have an integrated action plan to survive in the future," she said.
Summarizing the proposal made by the LDC group for the 12th ministerial meeting, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Director General of WTO Cell Md Hafizur Rahman said, "The declaration of the ministerial conference was prepared keeping in mind the geo-political context."
"For the first time, Bangladesh negotiated to get policy recognition from the developed countries to support all middle income countries including Bangladesh to face the challenges, which was never discussed in any such conference before," he added.
Md Hafizur Rahman said, even after graduating from the list of least developed countries (LDC) in 2026, duty-free trade facilities for other LDC countries including Bangladesh is expected to be continued for a few more years.

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