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Country getting ready for post-ldc trade benefits

National body on export will sit soon to draw up plans

Syful Islam | April 28, 2018 00:00:00

As Bangladesh is poised to graduate to a developing country, the government is getting prepared to claim new facilities in the global market, officials said.

The national committee on export, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will sit soon to devise plans and prepare a list on the possible market facilities, they added.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has recently prepared a list of such issues for discussion at the high-level meeting and sought opinion from the stakeholders.

Officials said after graduation to a developing country, Bangladesh is likely to lose various trade facilities it has been enjoying as a least developed country (LDC). In such a situation, it is important to locate alternative trade facilities and claim those to keep up the pace of economic growth.

They said on completion of the graduation process, Bangladesh will lose the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) facility in the European Union (EU) market under which goods are exported sans paying duty. The EU GSP facility for the least developed countries has helped Bangladesh expand its export volume manifold.

The government will now move to demand GSP Plus facility in European Union (EU) for the continuation of duty-free market facility there since EU is the second largest export destination for Bangladeshi products after the USA.

Besides, Bangladesh will chalk out plans on how to secure more market facilities in other developed and developing countries.

Officials said the high-level meeting will seek decision on signing of free trade area (FTA) agreement with the countries having large export potential for Bangladeshi products.

They said a common digital platform will be established for trade facilitation by creating links among the National Board of Revenue (NBR), banks, office of the chief controller of imports and exports, the Export Promotion Bureau, office of the registrar of joint stock companies and firms and ports.

The commercial wings of Bangladeshi missions abroad will be made more effective by providing them with financial power, and by appointing honorary trade consuls for market expansion.

A senior MoC official told the FE that alongside claiming trade benefits abroad, Bangladesh itself needs to raise its domestic capacity through product diversification.

He said the size of Export Development Fund (EDF) needs to be raised to finance uninterrupted sourcing of raw materials for export-oriented industries. Besides, a Technology Development Fund (TDF) needs to be set up for modernisation of export-oriented industries and their technological development.

Some more products having export potentials also need to be included in the EDF alongside expanding the list of products for export subsidy.

Another senior MoF official told the FE that it is now certain that Bangladesh will graduate to the developing country by 2024.

"But for further changing its status to developed country level by 2041, the rate of economic growth needs to be enhanced further," he noted.

The official said export has to be raised several fold from the present level of US?$ 34 billion and per capita income also needs to be increased.

"We are working on how to devise mechanism to give the economy further boost," he added.

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