Special support of WTO to meet food crisis demanded
Monday, 31 March 2008

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a think tank, Saturday said Bangladesh must demand special support for net food-importing countries from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to offset the negative pressure of gradual elimination of export subsidies, reports UNB.

"Elimination of export subsidies as well as domestic supports is likely to increase globally, which will negatively affect the net food-importing countries like Bangladesh.

Bangladesh must demand special support for net food-importing countries," said CPD executive director Prof Mustafizur Rahman told a press briefing after their recent visit to Geneva.

A four-member CPD team, including Prof Mustafizur Rahman, Uttam Kumar Deb, Fahmida Khatun and Khandaker Golam Moazzen had been in Geneva for a week and had a series of meetings with different stakeholders of the WTO. CPD has been closely following the negotiations on the Doha round agenda in Geneva.

CPD said reduction in domestic support and export subsidy for agriculture by developed countries is likely to increase relative advantage of some Bangladeshi agricultural products (fruits, vegetables etc.).

The CPD executive director said Bangladesh may be able to offset the negative pressure if she can export more of their other agricultural produces, particularly fruits and vegetables.

He said Bangladesh should raise its voice to take funds under aid-for-trade on any condition. "The government has to prepare its own list of projects, which may be submitted for funding under aid for trade," he said.

CPD said the Bangladesh mission in Geneva is contributing a lot in advancing Bangladesh''s interests, but the capacity of the mission is over-stretched. "The mission needs to be further strengthened with additional resources," he said.

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, the immediate-past executive director of the CPD, is now posted as the permanent representative to Geneva.

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