Faruk seeks G20 fund share


Commerce Minister Faruk Khan called upon the world leaders yesterday to provide Bangladesh’s share from the $1.1 trillion recession package announced at a G20 summit in April.

Terming the country’s present economic situation ‘vulnerable’, the minister also sought supports from the ‘Aid for Trade’, a fund of WTO (World Trade Organisation), which basically assists a country when it faces trade damages by other countries’ restricted trade policies.

“I urge the world leaders to ensure Bangladesh’s share from the $1.1 trillion recession package announced at the G20 summit,” said the commerce minister.

Earlier in April this year, G20 (a group of 20 developed and developing countries) members at the summit in London agreed to create a fund worth $1.1 trillion to tackle the global financial crisis. The developing and poor countries will get assistance from the fund.

“We are in a vulnerable situation. And our economic crises have been created by the developed countries’ restricted trade policies,” the minister said at the inaugural ceremony of a three-day national workshop on ‘WTO Notification Procedures and Obligations’ organised by Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka.

Khan, who is also the chief negotiator of Bangladesh at the WTO, said the ongoing global recession is one of the major reasons for the recent turmoil in the country’s garment sector.

BFTI has organised the workshop to train 25 officials from public and private sectors to make them skilled in notification procedures and obligations of WTO.

The BFTI is a non-profit research and training institute built on the concept of a public-private partnership, aiming to provide know-how to the stakeholders concerned about international trade issues.

According to WTO statistics, Bangladesh’s exports increased by 20 percent in 2008 compared to 2007. “However, the economic crisis is far from over and its ramifications are yet to be fully comprehended,” said Faustin Mukela Luanga, the representative of WTO.

“It is WTO’s multilateral trade rules that could provide a valuable insurance policy against protectionism,” he said.

He said the world today is experiencing a severe economic crisis. The crisis is unprecedented in its deepness, wideness and global impact. “International trade did not escape”.

The latest WTO secretariat forecast is a contraction of merchandise trade of 10 percent in 2009 in volume terms. However, some countries are also showing resilience. The LDCs’ share in world merchandise trade in 2008 has exceeded 1 percent, which is a welcome development, said Luanga.

There is a misconception that as an LDC (least developed country), Bangladesh does not need to worry about notification, said Mahbubur Rahman, president of International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh.

MA Taslim, chief executive officer of BFTI, also spoke at the function.

Source: The Daily Star, 20 July 2009

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