The principle of special and differential treatment (SDT) has shaped trading relations of the developed and developing countries for many decades. But the doctrine has come under fire from almost every stakeholder. Its effectiveness and contribution to the development needs of the underdeveloped countries have constantly been questioned both by the providers and recipients of the treatments. The least developed countries (LDC), the worst-performing group in international trade, are provided with more favourable SDT. However, when an LDC performs relatively better, they are graduated out of the category by forecloses those trade-related extra favours. How does graduation affect a country’s trade, particularly if it were benefitting from the additional assistance? Bangladesh is in the graduation process and set to leave the LDC category by 2026. How are its trade relations and trade competitiveness going to be affected by graduation?
My research will examine the existing structure of SDT measures vis-à-vis their stated goal of economic development and assess how they are impacted by graduation using Bangladesh as a case study in order to test the effectiveness of the principle and find out ways to make the principle more productive.