English | Dzongkha Sunday, September 23, 2018

A step towards WTO?

Aug 29, 2012

To join the World Trade Organization (WTO) or not is a decision Bhutan is struggling to make. And even as the country debates and weighs the pros and cons of joining WTO, representatives from various government departments and agencies involved in trade or trade related issues are being trained on Capacity building on International Trade in the capital.

The training is funded by the Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiation in Singapore as part of their technical assistance to aid development by increasing knowledge of trade negotiations and building capacity of the government and business leaders in Asia Pacific region to better participate in economic globalisation.

Bhutan applied for the World Trade Organization membership in 1999. In the following year, the country was granted the status of observer nation. Since then, Bhutan has made a progressive achievement both at bilateral and international negotiations front with a few steps away from becoming a WTO member.

The accession process came to a halt when the new government stressed on a broader debate on the advantages and disadvantages of joining WTO. According to a senior government official, government did not want to gamble the country’s future. Another important area of concern was impacts that joining WTO would bring on the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness.

The Head of Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiation in Singapore, Debora Elms said in terms of trade, Bhutan though a small country will gain equal rights among trading giants at the WTO.

The three-day training is focused on representatives of government agencies and departments. It aims to enhance understanding of international trade and World Trade Organization among larger group of stake holders.

The training cover a range of topics related to international trade. The topics include managing global free trade, trade in services, trade related intellectual property rights, non-tariff barriers and current issues in international trade.

Training related to World Trade Organization and International trade will also be extended to private sector in the future.

4 Comments for “A step towards WTO?”

  1. Lhawa Gyeltsuen Dorji

    No WTO Please!!!!!!!
    It seems that the authorities who are keen on joining Bhutan as member of WTO have not considered the repercussions that would bring to Bhutan. The members with no economic might are adversely effected by it. We have negative balance of payment always and our export is very less and are also limited to agricultural products, which always finds dearth of market, even in India.
    Are we, as a tiny golden fish really ready to swim with the sharks???? mind you that WTO means free trade, and we cannot put any restrictions on whatever the other member states wish to bring in and how are we going to protect the domestic firms and their market? How are we going to ensure that our domestic firms compete effectively with the Multi National Companies???
    There was a recent case in India, where they stopped importing poultry products from USA. It happened to be contrary to the provisions of the WTO, where the member states cannot restrict, as said earlier, its free trade. Even India is not able to cope up with it and is trying to pull pull out. And I think it is very big a step Bhutan is trying to take or are we doing this because we are too proud of ourselves with few good words spoken about us here and there? Or have the authorities weighted the pros and cons really?
    Let us know that our philosophy of GNH will have nothing to do there and it is purely a business, and I also feel that we are daring to take such a huge leap because we are flattered by our concept of GNH being talked about by other nations. So, lets not be too proud of it and take careful steps, a little steps that suits us and which will be for the betterment of our nations. To join WTO is a dream, a huge dream indeed, but lets sit and reflect back, where our nation, which is mostly an import oriented nation can join WTO? will it not result as a dump yard for the economic gaints?. Lets consider the current RUPEE crises we had and how much we were effected, in our economic activities, that is to say that India is our biggest economic partner and a time comes that there is no RUPEES in Bhutan. And now we are talking about joining WTO, and soon we will have DOLLAR crisis. Then the economy of our state will be severely affected and they will control our economy and economical activities, thereby taking our fundamental rights to control our economical activities. And mind you, this is no joke, they have done this, organizations like WTO, World Bank have controlled the other states economy in the name of aid. It is like they will have CCTV cameras installed in our rooms and watch whatever we are doing.
    Therefore, I wonder if our so called the leaders, who are very keen to join WTO have considered this or do they know at all, or are they just trying to show off even though we are not in a position to. Whatever, it is a huge risk and should consider everything before joining, because after that there may not be turning a back…….

  2. Anita Ford

    WTO is a No-No!!!
    Bhutan, the WTO is against everything that you say you stand for? Why would you even consider this? You join the WTO and your lose your independence. You will lose your water for sure.
    Too many examples of their dirty work around the world, don’t do it. To join them is the opposite of GNH, but maybe you are ready to give that up too?
    Very surprised and sad to read this news, I guess everywhere is the same now- no more special places.
    A Reader

  3. kinleywangchuk

    present status of WTO of Bhutan as compare to SARCC countries

  4. kinleywangchuk

    do u have any idea about the present status of Bhutan in WTO as compare to other SAARC countries

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