Bangladesh has to get out of its one-sided approach to design and focus on the strategy to make the transition from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category by 2026, cautioned a leading economist of the country.
He also mentioned that the current discussion on the LDC graduation strategy is mostly focused on market access, which has turned into a ‘preference-addiction.’
Against the backdrop, the economist, also a former Bangladesh ambassador to World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, strongly suggested actively embedding Intellectual Property (IP) right issues in the country’s LDC transition strategy by looking beyond Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) pharmaceutical.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), made these observations and suggestions at a virtual discussion with journalists today (Saturday) morning.
“The most neglected area in this case is the concerns of intellectual property rights,” said Dr Bhattacharya. “Available IPR expertise in Bangladesh is possibly least mobilised in the context of articulating LDC Transition Strategy for the country.”
He also said no IPR issue beyond TRIPS Pharma Waiver attracts attention.
“LDC discourse in Bangladesh does not usually take note of the flexibility allowed under TRIPS Article 66.1, rather its attention is exclusively focused on certain exemptions extended to LDCs with respect to pharmaceutical products,” he continued.
It is to be noted that WTO members agreed to extend the deadline for LDCs to protect intellectual property under WTO’s TRIPS Agreement until July 1, 2034. Members reached consensus on a 13-year extension of the current transition period, which was to expire on 1 July 2021, at a formal meeting of the TRIPS Council last month.