DHAKA, Mar 30 (BSS) -Director-General (DG) of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Pascal Lamy arrives in Dhaka tomorrow (Saturday) on a two-day visit to Bangladesh.
Lamy will attend the 46th convocation of Dhaka University on Saturday. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and hold separate meetings with finance minister AMA Muhith, commerce minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader and foreign minister Dipu Moni on April 1.
Lamy is scheduled to speak at a programme of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) and hold meeting with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on the same day.
Economists consider the Dhaka visit of WTO chief as very important in view of the current deadlock in Doha negotiations, saying that his visit in a LDC (least developed country) capital will help him accumulate more grounds for an interim outcome in favour of the LDCs.
Welcoming the visit, they said Lamy is visiting Dhaka at a time when the global economy is facing new economic challenges.
The WTO chief will be holding meetings with top government dignitaries, business leaders and economists that will help him know about the position of a leading LDC regarding the decisions of the WTO ministerial meeting held in December in Geneva, the economists observed.
"It is a very opportune visit. It will allow the Director- General of the World Trade Organisation to get exposed to the thinking in an LDC capital, particularly when the global economy is smarting from new shocks," said Debapriya Bhattacharya, a WTO expert.
Given the current deadlock in Doha negotiations, he will possibly collect more logic for an interim outcome in favour of LDCs, said Debapriya who was a member of Bangladesh's official delegation to the WTO Fourth Ministerial Meeting held in Doha in November, 2001.
Moreover, the meetings in Dhaka will also give an opportunity to tease out the fuller implications of the decisions of the last WTO ministerial meeting held in Geneva in December 2011, he said.
"In this connection, Bangladesh will be particularly interested to know about the follow-ups regarding the waiver agreed under the Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) providing preferential market access to the LDCs," said Debapriya who was a member of the Second Meeting of the LDC Trade Ministers held in Dhaka in June 2003.
Highly appreciating Lamy's visit, executive director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Ahsan H Mansur said this visit carries special value because it is the first visit by a WTO director-general.
"As Lamy's visit is courtesy one, we cannot expect any major development," he said, adding that what Bangladesh can do is to request Lamy to consider extending TRIPS (Agreement on Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) deadline that will expire for pharmaceutical products in 2016.
"If the deadline is extended further Bangladesh's booming pharmaceuticals industry will get a huge opportunity to consolidate its market abroad," he added.
Welcoming the visit of Lamy, MCCI president Amjad Khan Chowdhury said there will be a lot of interactions at the government level during Lamy's visit and metropolitan chamber expects that his visit will be fruitful.
Bangladesh as a LDC country is playing a very active role to get market access to developed countries, he said.
"We hope Pascal Lamy will continue to work hard to make the WTO negotiations success and protect the rights of least developed countries (LDCs)," said the MCCI president.