Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

WTO Talks
Govt urged to pursue long term policy

A long-term policy is needed to reap benefits from WTO trade negotiations, speakers said at a seminar in Dhaka Thursday and urged the government to take preparation for next global trade talks.

The speakers also said Bangladesh should identify its interests at the very beginning of any trade negotiations.

They were speaking at the daylong seminar on different aspects of WTO organised by 14 NGOs, who joined the WTO Hong Kong ministerial.

In the Hong Kong declaration, WTO members agreed to eliminate export subsidy on agricultural products by 2013 that will result in long-term influence on Bangladesh's economy, the speakers said. So, Bangladesh should chalk out an agriculture policy to increase its competitiveness, they added.

"Being an agro-based economy Bangladesh provides 0.7percent subsidy in agriculture sector while European Union gives 8.5percent farm subsidy, Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, trustee of Unnayan Onneshan, a pro-development organisation, said.

"We should build a common platform comprising common people, intellectuals, and workers to win in the war of trade, Forhad Mazhar, moderator of a session of the seminar, said.

Among others, Workers Party leader Haider Akbar Khan Rono, Director of Karmojibi Nari Ziaul Haque Mukta and Director of Gono Shastka Kendro Maksud Al Islam spoke at the discussion.