The government has taken steps to strengthen its negotiation skills and adopt certain strategy to gain from the advantages of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations in the coming years.
A high-level committee comprising businessmen, bureaucrats and civil society think tanks formulated the strategy at a meeting with Commerce Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury in the chair.
"We will appoint lobbyists to mobilise supports in various international arenas including Geneva to accelerate trade facilities for Bangladesh under the WTO provisions," commerce minister said.
Supporting the move the commerce minister said: "Appointing lobbyists is another part of diplomacy."
"In the USA not a single file moves without the help of the lobbyists," Adviser of the Commerce Ministry Barkatullah Bulu said.
Briefing the newsmen the commerce minister also said an expert group comprising specialists and businessmen will also be constituted to negotiate for Bangladesh trade at home and abroad.
The meeting also decided to request the Foreign Ministry to mobilise Bangladesh missions abroad, especially in Washington, to move forward the country's stand under the WTO regime.
Bangladesh will also maintain effective communication with the 50 African, Asian and the Caribbean least developed countries (LDCs) to stick to the group's stands under the WTO rules.
Spelling out the future strategy a senior official of the commerce ministry said ensuring duty free access of Bangladeshi products into foreign markets would be the key agenda.
He said the issues of non-LDC developing countries and the LDCs should not be viewed from the same perspective under the WTO regulations.
According to the United Nations (UN) there are specific criteria including gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income to define the developing countries, which should be the key ingredients to execute the WTO rules on such issues.
Sources said the demand to ensure duty and quota free access of Bangladeshi products into the USA market in the recently held WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong was turned down citing its adverse impact on the developing countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh is now keen to ensure duty free access of Bangladeshi products into the markets of the USA and Japan.
Apart from these two countries Bangladesh is now enjoying duty free access of its items into the markets of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, commerce ministry sources said.
Bangladesh has already prepared two product lists comprising 1017 items for duty free access and 276 items for quota free access.
As per the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong 97 per cent products originated from the LDCs should have duty free access.