Bangladesh offers special economic zone to Spain | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 26, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 26, 2015

Bangladesh offers special economic zone to Spain

The government offered a special economic zone (SEZ) to Spanish investors as Bangladesh's trade with the European nation is on the rise, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday.

“Spain is a good partner for Bangladesh as it is the country's fourth largest export destination after the US, Germany and the UK,” Ahmed said.

Bangladesh aims to take annual exports to Spain to $2 billion by the year-end from $1.76 billion now, according to the minister. “We are offering an economic zone to Spanish investors, and they can choose any of the 30 zones that are being developed in parts of the country now.”

“Our target is to develop 100 SEZs across the country,” Ahmed told reporters at his secretariat office after a meeting with Eduardo de Laiglesia, Spain's ambassador to Bangladesh.

The government is also focusing on thrust sectors -- IT, pharmaceuticals, leather, jute, shipbuilding, agro-products -- to boost exports.

Bangladesh's exports to Spain mostly consist of garment, home textile, jute and jute yarn, jute goods, leather and leather goods, pharma and shrimp.

The government will also offer cash incentives on exports of non-traditional items to encourage export diversification, Ahmed said.

Spanish investors are keen to invest in infrastructure and energy sectors, Ahmed said.

“Our investment policies are really excellent and liberal. The investors can easily repatriate their profits or capital from Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh exported goods worth $1.76 billion in fiscal 2014-15, up from $1.61 billion in the previous year, according data from the commerce ministry.

On the other hand, in fiscal 2014-15, Bangladesh imported goods worth $129.7 million, up from $97.6 million in the previous year.

On the second Ticfa meeting held in Washington Monday, Ahmed said there is no reason to keep the trade privilege suspended as Bangladesh has fulfilled “all conditions” attached by the Obama administration.

“I don't see any reason why the US government would not return the GSP status to Bangladesh. The signing of Ticfa is meaningless if GSP is not reinstated for Bangladesh.”

On the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement, the minister said Bangladesh is ready to join the US led 12-nation mega deal if they expand membership in future. 

Ahmed reiterated that Bangladesh's competitiveness in exports to the US would not be affected by the TPP as the country's trade with America is still competitive despite high tariff rates.

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