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Withdrawal of export subsidy on cotton may affect BD RMG: CPD

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Staff Reporter
If the subsidy for cotton export is withdrawn as per the decision of the WTO Ministerial Conference recently held in Bali, the readymade garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh may face a hurdle, says Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think tank.
“If the export subsidy on cotton is withdrawn Bangladesh as a cotton-exporting country will have to import cotton at higher prices. This could increase the cost of production,” CPD research director Dr Fahmida Khatun said.
She was making a power-point presentation on Bali Outcome of the WTO Conference at a press conference at CPD office in the city on Monday.
The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference reaffirmed commitment to the parallel elimination of all forms of export subsidy and discipline on all export measures with equivalent effect as set out in the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration addressing distortions in the cotton sector, including the elimination of export subsidy.
Speaking at the press conference, CPD executive director Prof Mustafizur Rahman said elimination of export subsidy on cotton will not only cast a negative impact on Bangladesh, but also all the cotton-importing countries. “It’s now difficult to say how much price of cotton will soar.”
About the outcome of the Bali Conference, he said as per the decision of the meeting, a country can now stock more food grains in the name of considering its domestic demand.
“We’ve raised voice at the conference so that no country can ban food export during any emerging food crisis. But we didn’t achieve it,” Prof Mustafizur.
He said the decision taken to stockpile food grains is an interim solution, not a permanent one, but the rice-exporting countries like Thailand and Vietnam now can ban rice export.
The CPD demanded at the WTO meet for raising a fund for the least developed countries (LDCs) for providing more trade facilities. “A big investment is required in this field.”
He said Bangladesh needs to prepare in terms of identifying areas for technical and financial support to implement the trade facility provisions adopted in Bali conference.
About the shielding public stockholding programme, Dr Fahmida Khatun said more procurement by India could trigger food price hike regionally, affecting Bangladeshi consumers.