Bangladesh National Consultation on Sanitary/Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade Diagnostic Study
The Bangladesh Ministry of Commerce, together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), conducted a national consultation meeting on sanitary/phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) on 28 September in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in preparation for launching a national SPS/TBT diagnostic study, under the trade facilitation agenda of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program.
Outcomes of the meeting included
- Agreement on an adjusted terms of reference for the national SPS/TBT diagnostic study in Bangladesh, including a tentative schedule;
- Agreement on the working arrangements for the Bangladesh SPS/TBT Nodal Point and Core Group with all involved stakeholders for preparation of the national diagnostic study;
- Confirmation of next steps for launching the national SPS/TBT diagnostic study.
Discussion on the terms of reference for the national SPS/TBT diagnostic study focused on the methodology of identifying products; agreement on the overall methodology; aspects to be taken into account in the national context of Bangladesh; the readiness of the Bangladesh SASEC SPS/TBT Nodal Point and Core Group to work with the national consultant; and the role between the national and international consultant.
The Consultation brought together the Ministry of Commerce; Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institution; Bangladesh Tariff Commission; the National Board of Revenue; the Export Promotion Bureau. Representatives of private sector interests also joined, including the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Bangladesh Agro-Processors Association; Bangladesh Exporters’ Association; Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute; Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Mr. Monoj Kumar Roy, Additional Secretary (FTA), Ministry of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh co-chaired the Meeting with ADB, highlighting the obligation of government agencies and the private sector to develop capacity to ensure compliance with SPS and TBT-related standards for the well-being of people and business in Bangladesh. He emphasized the importance and necessity of consultation between government and private sector to address obstacles relating to SPS and TBT, which cause hindrance to the smooth flow of import-export operations.
Mr. Nesar Ahmed, Director (Joint Secretary), WTO Cell, Ministry of Commerce, presented the status of Bangladesh’s initiatives in SPS measures, focusing on various aspects of the SPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), related existing Laws and the Rules being framed thereunder, and the private sector’s involvement in this area. He also highlighted the necessity of ensuring compliance with SPS requirements throughout the entire supply chain, indicating the necessary steps to be taken to overcome current challenges. Mr. Shaquib Quoreshi, Secretary, Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce and Industry presented the status of initiatives in TBT measures, with reference to the WTO TBT Agreement, and discussed various forms of non-tariff measures. Mr. Quoreshi also provided pertinent examples of TBTs in all six SASEC countries.
Dr. Selim Raihan, ADB international consultant and coordinator for the overall SPS/TBT diagnostic study project, presented the draft terms of reference for the national diagnostic study. He clarified objectives, methodology, and tasks of the Bangladesh national diagnostic study.
In November 2013, the six SASEC member countries conducted a brainstorming meeting where they agreed to coordinate and develop an agenda in SPS/TBT under the SASEC Program. The brainstorming session was followed by a focused meeting in December 2014 that identified the next steps to move this agenda forward, including the development of a terms of reference for national-level and regional SPS/TBT diagnostic studies to be undertaken by all six SASEC countries.
The SASEC SPS/TBT national diagnostic study in all six countries is funded through ADB technical assistance activities.