Dhaka to expedite economic diplomacy to keep trade benefits unhurt
The government wants to expedite its efforts engaging global trade partners in an effort to keep the current trade privileges unhurt once Bangladesh comes out from the LDCs (least developed countries) club.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has given necessary directives to heads of Bangladesh missions abroad to expedite its economic diplomacy so that duty-free market access for Bangladeshi products remains unhurt after Bangladesh's LDC graduation.
Though Bangladesh's LDC graduation will take effect in 2024, the EU has offered to extend the preferential market access for an additional three years following graduation till 2027 in case of Bangladesh.
However, according to Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), there is no denying that future market access scenario for Bangladesh will undergo profound changes in the coming years.
The Foreign Minister recently wrote a letter to heads of Bangladesh missions abroad asking them to continue discussion with the host countries, policymakers and importers to maintain the export growth keeping trade privileges unhurt, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
As a least developed country, Bangladesh benefits from the most favourable regime available under the EU's Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), namely the Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement.
EBA grants the 48 LDCs - including Bangladesh - duty-free quota, free access to the EU for exports of all products, except arms and ammunition.
The Foreign Minister said all the Bangladesh missions abroad will have to work more proactively to find new markets for Bangladeshi readymade garments, pharmaceuticals and agro products.
He urged the heads of missions to give much focus on boosting Bangladesh's overall export volume and bringing more foreign investment into Bangladesh so that Bangladesh can achieve vision 2021 and 2041 ahead of stipulated timeframe.
In his letter, the Foreign Minister mentioned that it is absolutely important to have increased foreign investment, new markets for Bangladeshi products and an increased export volume to achieve Bangladesh's development goals.
Dr Momen said the government is offering various incentives for foreign investors through Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) that need to be communicated effectively with the international partners.
The Foreign Minister sought Bangladesh missions' important role in attracting foreign investment in 100 special economic zones, 28 Hi-Tec parks.
The European Union (EU) mentioned that Bangladesh is the source of more than 62 percent of all EBA exports to the EU, and hence the largest beneficiary from the EU EBA programme.
EBA preferences as well as any future trade relationship are conditional on the respect of human rights, including labour rights, as reflected in the international conventions listed in the GSP Regulation, according to the EU.