Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen has urged for continuation of LDC-specific flexibilities and exemptions available under the WTO rules and provisions for the LDCs after graduation.
He made the call in a meeting with Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at her office in Geneva on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said.
At the meeting, he highlighted Bangladesh’s impressive development trajectory under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that has enabled the country to be eligible for graduation from the LDC category in 2026.
While conveying satisfaction for the TRIPS Council’s recent decision to allow the LDCs with exemption period until 1 July 2034 under TRIPS Article 66.1, Foreign Minister expressed concerns for possible negative impacts on the development momentum of the graduated countries if they lose the international support measures (ISMs).
Referring to LDC group’s submission in the WTO for extension of LDC-specific ISMs, Dr. Momen expressed hope for a favourable decision in the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference to be held in November in Geneva.
The Foreign Minister also held meetings with Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Guy Ryder, Director General of ILO at their offices during the day.
During his meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Momen stressed on the international community’s responsibility towards establishing and supporting accountability and justice for the massive human rights violations perpetrated against Rohingyas in Myanmar.
He further reiterated Bangladesh’s strong commitment to promoting the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingya in a conducive environment in Myanmar and conveyed Bangladesh’s readiness to work with Myanmar, UNHCR, OHCHR and other concerned parties to bring about sustainable and durable solutions.
Foreign Minister Momen highlighted the incremental progresses that Bangladesh has made in the RMG sector during his meeting with Guy Ryder, the Director General of ILO which was duly recognized and appreciated by the DG.
Terming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the “Friend of Workers”, Dr. Momen emphasised on the initiatives taken by the government of Bangladesh during the pandemic for the welfare and protection of the RMG sector workers.
He further added that no garment factory worker was terminated from service during Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to different stimulus packages and initiatives of the Government of Bangladesh.
Dr. Momen is on a 3-day visit in Geneva to participate in the Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting of the LDCs, convened jointly by the Government of Bangladesh, UN-OHRLLS and UNESCAP at the UN Headquarters in Geneva in preparation for the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UNLDC-5).