| by Swadesh Roy
(November 16, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Bangladesh is known as a flood affected country. Every eight to ten years’ cycle, Bangladesh has been affected by a devastating flood. Besides that, every year many kinds of flash flood affect more area of Bangladesh. All over the world people know that, Bangladesh is a flood affected country and it needs foreign aid to sustain and survive with the affected people. Most of the countries in the world help Bangladesh and its people to survive from flood. Even than a schoolboy of USA also helps Bangladeshi flood affected people to save his Tiffin money. It is a reality and a real picture of Bangladesh in the world. So it can be said that, people of the world have sympathy to Bangladesh as a flood affected county. But , if the world people can hear that, Bangladesh has opposed to European union to give facility to Pakistan for their flood affected people, how the people will think about Bangladesh? Bangladesh has not done it, but they have to face propaganda like this.
European Union has given a proposal to Pakistan that, they want to help Pakistan as a flood affected country through the duty free access of readymade garment in their market. Bangladesh opposed it. Not only Bangladesh but also others LDC countries have opposed it. They told according to WTO, European Union cannot do this. They cannot mix-up aid and trade. Trade is trade and aid is aid. Commerce minister of Bangladesh categorically said that, Bangladesh will not support any international move on `aid for trade.’ Our position is clear; one should not mix aid with trade. As a developing country, Pakistan is not entitled to duty-free access to the European Union market. If Pakistan gets this facility in the name of the flood aid then country like Bangladesh will face a bad competition in the EU market. Pakistan is a cotton producing country. So Pakistan will enjoy a competitive advantage over Bangladesh. Bangladesh is the second biggest textile good exporters to the EU which enjoys duty free and quota free market access. Bangladesh earned about $18 billion by exporting. So Bangladesh is thinking its readymade garment products’ future in EU. It is nothing but that. In the mean time India also shows softness to Pakistan about this situation. However, Bangladesh is also soft and worried about the flood affected people of Pakistan. Bangladesh sent food and medical aid to Pakistan. Now Bangladesh is telling that, European Union wants to help the flood affected people of Pakistan, they can give their aid but they cannot violate the rule of trade of WTO. They cannot give them duty and quota free access of readymade Garment product in the name of a help to the flood affected people.
Bangladesh is a vulnerable climate affected country. The leader of Bangladesh, Sheik Hasina is fighting for climate affected people of the world. So it does not match with Bangladesh that, they are against the flood affected people of Pakistan, they are trying to oppose the EU aid. The position of Bangladesh is very clear that, they do not want to mix up trade with aid.
Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh.