Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon member countries of the Commonwealth to work towards making the multilateral trade regime a more inclusive and sustainable one.
“We, the Commonwealth members, must work to make this regime more inclusive, fair and sustainable,” she said while speaking at an event titled “A More Prosperous Future (The [Windsor] Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment)” on the opening day of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)in London.
The Prime Minister added that early operation of the Commonwealth Trade Financing Facility launched at the CHOGM 2015 in Malta was critical to these efforts.
She further said Bangladesh has always called for the promotion of a rule-based, transparent, inclusive and fair multilateral trade regime.
“Yet, the lack of any significant outcome on the 11th WTO ministerial meeting leaves us disappointed at the blocking of the pro-poor development-oriented agenda under the Doha Round of Trade Talks,” Sheikh Hasina added.
She said physical connectivity is important to ensuring overall peace, progress and stability. “Multimodal physical connectivity links territories and communities and it’s a cornerstone for regional economic cooperation and integration,” she said.
In this regard, the prime minister said Bangladesh has been working for the implementation of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional connectivity project to promote people-to-people contact, trade and tourism in the region and beyond.
“We approach connectivity in a wider context. We believe in connecting ideas, knowledge, technology, culture, people, road-rail-air, movement of goods, services and investment,” she said.
The Bangladesh prime minister also thanked the Commonwealth Secretariat for preparing the draft of the revised Guidelines for Conduct of Election Observation in Member Countries, saying revision of the original guidelines adopted in 1991 needed to be approached in a systematic manner.
She added that economic, social and cultural rights of Commonwealth citizens needed to be assured, as well as their political rights.
Regarding the rights of migrants, she said: “In a hyper-connected world, we can’t but focus on human mobility. In 2016, Bangladesh proposed the idea of a Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration in the UN. We believe that our responsibilities towards migrants and their rights should find a global voice.”
Sheikh Hasina welcomed the draft of the [Windsor] Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment, saying Bangladesh wants to cooperate with all concerned for creating an area of peace in South Asia.