WTO must ensure 100% DFQF for LDCs instead of forcing liberalization of essential services


index_photo_89Today a human chain organized by 23 right-based organizations in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka demands WTO to ensure 100% DFQF (Duty Free Quota Free) facilities for the LDC in the market of developed countries. The street demonstration draws the attention of the WTO DG Mr. Roverto Azevédo on the eve of his Dhaka visit on 3rd June.

The speakers in the human chain also said the TRIPS waiver for the potential pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh expires by 2016 but the industry is still in the emerging stage and needs the waiver to be able to compete in the international market. Otherwise this potential industry will collapse and the people of the country will be highly charged for essential and life saving medicine as commercially priced. They also demand WTO not to impose import liberalization and tax exemptions for MNC (Multi-National Companies) in the name of customs modernization.

Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Trust moderates the speech session of the street demonstration while Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Subol Das of Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Moinuddin Hawladar of Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD spoke in the session.

Moinuddin Hawladar said in his speech that Bangladesh is an independent country but we see in every steps of economic decisions we are not independent. World Bank, IMF, WTO and other trade and financial organizations impose decisions on us without considering the people’s interest.

Subol Das said in his speech that we have been seeing the giant agro companies are squeezing up the farmers of the poor countries but the institutions like WTO are not in favour of the poor farmers. They are busy to ensure the interest of the Multi-National Companies (MNC) more and more. They are forcing the LDCs to liberalize their import policies so that more products of the MNC can be dumped.

Aminur Rasul Babul said that USA is clearly violating the Equal Treatment policy of WTO by stopping the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) facilities for our ready made garment industry. We would like to have an explanation from the WTO DG in this regard while his Bangladesh visit.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said in his speech that the LDC are being forced to minimize the subsidy on agriculture by the IFIs and other but on the other hand the rich countries are putting huge subsidy in their agriculture. A cow in Europe is getting 6 Euros a day with which it can travel the whole world by air in an economy class. This is how our farmers are being deprived. They are pouring down their produced milk on the street as a protest. He added, agro companies are patenting lives, which should not be. If the herbs like Neem and Turmeric are patented by them we will be hugely charged for using what we have been using for thousand years.

Mustafa Kamal Aakanda said during his moderation that we can’t commercialize the essential services like education and health for our poor population as it is their human rights and entitlement by born. This is the mandate of UN and other human right defending universal institutions. But it is a pity to see how the trade organizations are conflicting with the human rights.

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