Developing Countries in the World Trade in Agriculture: Bangladesh Perspective.

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Developing Countries in the World Trade in Agriculture: Bangladesh Perspective.

Agriculture directly or indirectly, is the main source of livelihood of most of the people all over the world. It provides a considerable portion of the national GDP of all developing countries and for the poor countries it provides the main portion of GDP. However, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the key organisation for controlling the world trading system and of which agriculture is one of the key concerns. The WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is the sole instrument controlling the world trade in agriculture and agricultural products.

The object of the agreement is to “establish a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system” and it contains rule regarding three broadly categorised groups, a) market access, b) domestic support, and c) export competition. Has it so far managed to establish a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system? This is the main concern for the developing countries and especially for the least developing countries (LDC). The text does not properly reflect the will and aspirations of the developing countries, rather it contains some rules which are inconsistent with the interest of the developing countries. It seems that the agreement is more intent to defend the interest of the developed countries.

However, as a signatory party of WTO Agreement on Agriculture, Bangladesh have a lot of concerns on the agreement in order to gain its own interest. Bangladesh is crucially facing the high price rate of food in world market. It cannot effort to feed 150 millions of people by importing from the world market at a higher price, where the rice price is now double than one year before. In order to provide food to our people we have to increase production of food and at the same time Bangladesh as well as other developing countries need to have equal opportunities to export their agricultural products in the world market. But we have lack of technology, research methodology and indeed easy access to fertiliser which are must to increase food production. This paper shall discuses the problems and prospects of the agreement and the interests of Bangladesh in world trade in agriculture shall also be critically analysed. Referring to the multilateral trading system, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times noted: The multilateral trading system at the beginning of the twenty-first century is the most remarkable achievement in institutionalised global economic cooperation that there has ever been. Through out this article, we will discuss whether the multilateral trading system makes a level playing field for the developing countries in the world trading system or not.

This paper consists of six separate chapters. Following the introductory first chapter, the second chapter is a brief of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1947. The third chapter is the most important part of the paper as it scrutinises the WTO ‘Agreement on Agriculture’ from different point of views and its positive sides as well as its lacks along with the governing principles of the WTO. However, the fourth chapter deals with the interests of the developing countries in the world trade in agriculture and it also contains a separate part on Africa. The fifth chapter analyses agriculture of Bangladesh from different point of views. It tries to find out the reasons why Bangladesh is lacking behind in comparison with other countries in agricultural sectors. It also speaks of the on going WTO negotiations and how we can defend our interest in future negotiations. Finally the concluding chapter ends with some recommendations how Bangladesh can compete with the world trade in agriculture in future.

2.‘The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1947)’ International trade needs some guiding mechanisms to benefit the people allover the world. In order to control the world trade in...
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