The Maldives has announced that it will be filing a written declaration of intervention with the International Court of Justice in support of Rohingya people.
While delivering his statement at the High-Level Segment of the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council, Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the announcement on Tuesday.
In line with the decision taken at the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Maldives intends to extend its support for the efforts to seek accountability for the acts of genocide committed against the Rohingya people, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives.
The decision to file the declaration was taken after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih along with the Cabinet concluded that there are strong grounds to intervene in the case submitted by The Gambia in support of the Rohingya people.
Amal Clooney of Doughty Street Chambers has been appointed to represent the Maldives in the case before the International Court of Justice.
Clooney is an accomplished barrister and humanitarian lawyer and the Maldives is confident in her ability to seek accountability and judicial remedies for the displaced Rohingya people.
In accepting the appointment, Clooney had stated: “I’m delighted to have been asked to represent the Maldives before the International Court of Justice. Accountability for genocide in Myanmar is long overdue and I look forward to working on this important effort to seek judicial remedies for Rohingya survivors.”
The Maldives has been a consistent advocate for accountability against the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people, and welcomes the unanimous decision of the International Court of Justice to order provisional measures to secure the rights of victims and prevent the destruction of evidence in the ongoing case.
The Maldives will continue to advocate on humanitarian grounds to bring the perpetrators of genocide to justice and calls for the unhindered and safe return of the Rohingya people to their homes.
German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr Gerd Muller on Tuesday expressed his country’s firm commitment to a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis and Myanmar’s full compliance with the recent order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Muller is scheduled to visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday to see the situation on the ground.
The German Minister met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at his Parliament office and discussed the Rohingya issue.
Momen requested Muller to consider meaningful measures compelling Myanmar for creating a conducive environment in Rakhine for safe, dignified and sustainable return of the forcibly displaced Rohingys, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. Most of them fled their homes in Rakhine state when the Myanmar military and their collaborators launched a brutal offensive targeting the mainly-Muslim ethnic minority.
State-sponsored discrimination stretches back decades against Rohingyas who are denied citizenship by Myanmar despite having lived in the country for generations.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Momen highlighted Bangladesh’s tremendous socio-economic developments, particularly during the last one decade in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 that envisages the transformation of Bangladesh into ‘Sonar Bangla’ or Golden Bengal as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He informed the visiting German Minister about the year-long celebration of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, commencing on March 17, and reiterated Prime Minister Hasina’s invitation to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to join the celebration.
Minister Momen expressed his deep appreciation for German technology and asked German investors to invest more in Bangladesh, particularly in the Special Economic Zones and Hi-tech Parks, taking advantage of attractive incentive packages, available skilled manpower and IT professionals and a growing middle-class consumers.
He also suggested that giant German motor vehicle manufacturers like BMW can build assembling plants in Bangladesh, which was appreciated by the German Minister.
The issue of climate change also figured prominently in the meeting.
While Muller highlighted German development cooperation’s particular focus on this area, Momen apprised him about Bangladesh’s various adaptation and mitigation efforts, including construction of cyclone shelters and embankments and other disaster preparedness.
Minister Momen also mentioned about the government’s plan to plant 10 million trees during ‘Mujib Borsho’.
The German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development is visiting Bangladesh at the invitation of Bangladesh Foreign Minister. Dr Momen visited Berlin in October last year when he met, among others, Minister Muller.
Germany is the largest trading partner of Bangladesh in Europe and the second largest globally.
The German Minister and his delegation came to Dhaka by a special flight of German Air Force on Monday evening.
They will leave for India on Wednesday afternoon after visiting Rohingya camp.
Non-tariff measures (NTMs) could cause major fractures in post-exit trade relations between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), knocking up to US$32 billion, or 14 per cent, off of UK exports to the EU, according to a new UNCTAD study.
The study quantitatively explores the post-Brexit role of NTMs and the consequences for developing countries by simulating possible impacts using a panel data gravity model, said the report released on Tuesday.
Under a tariffs-only scenario, exports of developing countries to the UK would increase 1.3% to 1.5% while a tariffs-and-NTMs scenario would see them rise 3.5% to 4%, according to the study.
The positive impact would be strongest in agriculture, food and beverages, wood and paper sectors and weakest in electrical and machinery, metal products, chemicals, and textiles and apparel industries.
NTMs are policy measures other than ordinary customs tariffs that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods, changing quantities traded, or prices, or both.
They are the key factors mediating market access in the world economy.
Potential losses under a “no-deal” Brexit from tariffs that may be imposed by the respective parties are estimated at between $11.4 billion and $16 billion or 5-7% of current exports.
The new study “Brexit beyond tariffs: The role of non-tariff measures and the impact on developing countries” says NTMs would double those losses.
The study also projects that even if a “standard” free trade agreement were to be signed by the parties, the UK’s exports could still drop by 9%.
The losses would deal a major blow to the UK’s economy, as the EU market accounts for 46% of the UK’s exports. Mounting trade costs due to non-tariff measures and potentially rising tariffs would more than double the adverse economic effects of Brexit for the UK, the EU and developing countries, the study notes.
“EU membership has its advantages to deal with non-tariff measures that even the most comprehensive agreement cannot replicate. This offers important lessons to other regions trying to deal more effectively with such non-tariff measures,” said UNCTAD’s director of international trade, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, while presenting the study’s findings.
Potential boon for developing countries
On the flipside, exports from developing countries into the UK, and to a smaller extent into the EU, could increase if the former doesn’t increase tariffs for third countries.
A no-deal Brexit could offer some opportunities for developing countries as trade barriers between the UK and the EU would benefit suppliers from third countries.
By contrast, a deal between them would preclude the incentive to turn to third countries, the study finds.
However, the positive third-country effect could be diminished by increasing regulatory divergence.
If the UK’s regulations divert over time from the EU’s, trade costs would rise for third countries due to production process adjustment costs and potential duplication of proofs of compliance.
This would disproportionately affect smaller and poorer countries as well as small and medium-sized enterprises.
‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ exit scenarios
The UK left the EU in January. The two parties aim to determine their future trade relations during a transition period that lasts until the end of this year.
While a “hard” exit scenario would result in the study’s projections, the economic effects of a “soft” exit in which the status quo is largely maintained pending negotiation of a future trade relationship would depend on the details of that relationship.
Based on the study’s results, that relationship should deal with NTMs in a more comprehensive way than typical free trade agreements (FTAs) and customs unions observed in other parts of the world to minimize potential negative effects.
Around one-third of the EU’s total trade promoting effect among members is accounted for by the way in which it deals with NTMs.
Standard FTAs and customs unions have their trade-promoting effects primarily through tariff reductions.
While tariffs are important in the EU context as well, there is nonetheless substantial evidence of an EU effect on trade that is above and beyond the effect of zero tariffs, primarily due to the effectiveness of its approach to dealing with NTMs.
Examples of non-tariff measures
NTMs include regulatory measures protecting health safety and the environment as well as traditional trade policy measures such as quotas and non-automatic licensing.
Regulations affect most of the products we use in our daily lives: packaging requirements and limits on the use of pesticides ensure food safety; restrictions on toxins in toys protect our children; mandatory voltage standards for household plugs enable regional mobility; and emission standards for cars limit climate change.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged Germany to play a more active role over Rohingya issue.
She also called on the international community to put more pressure on Myanmar to take back its nationals from Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister made the call when visiting German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr Gerd Müller met her at her official residence Ganobhaban.
PM's deputy press secretary Hasan Jahid Tusher briefed reporters after the meeting.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Rohingyas are now becoming a burden for Bangladesh as they are creating social problems. "Vested quarters are taking the chance to engage them in terror activities and human trafficking."
She also said Rohingyas are creating big problems for local residents of Cox's Bazar as their numbers are much higher than the locals.
Sheikh Hasina said following bilateral discussions with Myanmar, Bangladesh signed an agreement with them to take back Rohingyas willingly. "But somehow it’s not working. Myanmar isn’t taking back Rohingyas. They aren’t following the agreement," she said adding that Myanmar should take back Rohingyas from Bangladesh immediately.
The Prime Minister said identity cards have been given to Rohingyas to ensure security of the area.
Talking about almost 1 lakh Rohingya babies born here, she said these babies should have ID cards. "We’re providing all types of assistance to Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds."
Hasina said there are many young people who have lost their parents. “It’s quite natural that they’ll fall prey to human trafficking and it’s easy to use them in terror activities. It’s quite natural that they’ll get involved in these."
She said considering the security of Rohingyas and local Bangladeshis, the government is installing fences around camps. "This is for giving them more security."
German Minister Dr Gerd Müller said he will physically visit Rohingya camps on Wednesday.
He said they will think how Germany could get involved more in the Rohingya issue and how they could help Bangladesh more in this regard.
Gerd Müller also said he thinks the situation might be changed slightly after the coming election in Myanmar.
The German minister arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral issues with special focus on RMG sector, trade union and Rohingya situation.
Talking about more German investment in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said the government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country and she urged the German investors to come to Bangladesh with more investments. "If they want, we can provide one economic zone exclusively for them," she said.
When the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development raised the issue of RMG wages and facilities for workers, she said all the RMG factories in Bangladesh are following the standard process.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has increased the wages of RMG workers by 221 percent comparing that before the AL government came to power in 2009.
She mentioned that the minimum wage for the RMG workers was Tk 1,600 at that time while the minimum wage is Tk 8,300 at present.
The Prime Minister urged buyers to pay higher prices while they buy RMG products from Bangladesh as the workers are not getting all the benefits due to lower prices. "The government is giving continuous pressure on the RMG owners, but you (buyers) have to think how much you’re paying," she said.
Through the German Minister, she invited the German Chancellor to visit Bangladesh during the programmes for the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman before her retirement.
"She can visit Rohingya camps at that time," Sheikh Hasina said, urging the German ambassador to Dhaka to take effective measures to this end.
The German Minister informed the Prime Minister that work on a water treatment plant is progressing for supplying pure drinking water to people living in the eastern part of Dhaka city, including Jatrabari.
In reply, the Prime Minister urged him to expedite the work, saying her government would provide necessary cooperation in this regard.
They also had talks on the issues of climate change, renewable energy and other matters related to bilateral interests.
Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen, Prime Minister’s International Affairs Advisor Dr Gowher Rizvi and German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz were present.
Speakers at a seminar here on Tuesday discussed trade and business opportunities between Bangladesh and India and ways to bolster trade relations taking advantage of the proximity.
Indian High Commission in Dhaka in collaboration with India Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) jointly organised the seminar on “Scope of Enhancing Indo-Bangla Bilateral Trade in light of Indian National Budget 2020” at a city hotel.
Representatives from various chambers, think-tanks and business heads of multinational companies based in Bangladesh attended the seminar.
Addressing the seminar, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das said the seminar will open up more business and trade opportunities between the two friendly countries. “I’m certain it’ll act as a useful platform for encouraging productive discussions.”
Deputy High Commissioner Bishwadip Dey mentioned that the India-Bangladesh proximity is an opportunity waiting to be explored. “We should strive to tap the full potential of this mutually beneficial partnership.”
The event also saw a presentation by Dr Pramyesh Basall, Commercial Representative of the High Commission of India on ‘Promoting Indo-Bangla Trade and Commerce’ where he covered the new vistas of engagement and increasing trade and commerce between the two neighbouring nations.
Anita Barik, Railway Adviser at the High Commission, made a presentation on the ongoing connectivity projects between Bangladesh and India.
Dr Prakash Chand Saboo, Country Head of State Bank of India, spoke on the provisions of the Indian National Budget 2020 which will boost the India-Bangladesh trade for the Financial Year 2020-2021.
Abdul Matlub Ahmed, President, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce covered wide areas of trade, business and connectivity between Bangladesh and India.
He said the trade between Bangladesh and India crossed US$ 10-billion mark in 2019. “As the voice of industry, IBCCI will further strive for increasing the trade figures specially exports from Bangladesh and investment from India for the year 2020.”
The event also saw engaging presentation by Ashish Goupal, Managing Director, Marico Bangladesh Ltd on the topic “Bangladesh - The New Asian Tiger in the Making” where he spoke on salient features of Bangladesh economy and explained why Bangladesh has become international focus of trade and economic growth.
Robin Kumar Das, Country Head, Mahindra & Mahindra shared his experience of doing business in Bangladesh for the past few years.