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Study on Enhancing Industrial Production in the Context of LDC Graduation

Bangladesh is scheduled to graduate from the group of least developed countries (LDCs) on November 24, 2026, around 50 years after it originally joined this cohort of developing nations in December 1975, according to the resolution of the UN General Assembly convened in November 2021. The WTO-MC12, the twelfth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, held in Geneva from June 12 to 17, 2022, indicated how willing the international community was to be in supporting these graduating LDCs in order for them to achieve sustainable graduation. Sadly, the ministerial meeting could not live up to its expectation as far as the interest of the LDCs is concerned. While the graduating LDCs will still be required to advance their agenda during upcoming WTO negotiations, the message is clear – a country like Bangladesh has to make its own efforts to neutralize the adverse impacts of LDC graduation, including enhancing the capacity of the industrial sector to cope with the new regime after 2026.

While Bangladesh will need to focus on implementing tangible measures to mitigate the effects of LDC graduation both at home (e.g., strict compliance requirements including in areas of trade-related intellectual property rights; more obligations and greater commitments in various areas including tariffs and subsidies) and abroad (e.g., ensuring greater reciprocity in negotiations with partners; losing access to preferential market), the country should develop the necessary industrial capacities particularly in terms of technology, product development, product upgrading and learning. 

Given this background, it is essential to take stock of the level of technology of the industrial sector of Bangladesh. 

2. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

a. To examine the current status of the productive capacity, productivity, and skill level of the industries prioritized in the Industrial Policy 2016.

b. To examine how these industries will be impacted by LDC graduation in 2016. 

c. To recommend policies, strategies, and technical knowledge requirements of the prioritized industrial sectors to address the challenges posed by LDC graduation. 

d. To provide a time-bound action plan with measurable indicators in implementing recommendations. 

Study team

Dr. Kazi Iqbal, Study Director

Rizwana Islam, Study Member

Jayed Bin Satter, Study Member

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