27 Oct 2013 – World Trade Organization waiver for LDCs

The draft decision on the operationalisation of the waiver concerning preferential treatment to services and service suppliers of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) tabled by the LDCs group at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is expected to immensely benefit Bangladesh.

The draft decision was put forward by Nepal on behalf of the LDC Group for consideration at the Bali Ministerial Conference scheduled for this coming December.
If implemented, the decision will, as the draft suggests, ‘constitute an important positive effort to help increase the participation of LDCs in world services trade’.

Among other things, the draft decision highlights the issue of lowering, ideally removing, ‘market access barriers, domestic regulatory and administrative barriers and other relevant measures that may impede current or potential LDC services exports’ and urges donors and international institutions to ‘increase financial and technical support aimed at overcoming these constraints in trade in services’.

If services and service suppliers of LDCs are granted preferential market access, Bangladesh, too, will enjoy trade benefits on export of services to developed and developing countries.
While the waiver was adopted in 2011, LDCs are yet to make use of it. We hope that the Bali conference will reaffirm the measure and expedite the process so that LDCs may without further delay and hindrances take advantage of it and begin to enjoy the proposed trade benefits which will hopefully result in a further, much-needed boost to the economy of Bangladesh and other LDCs. Editorial – The Daily Star