Govt yet to decide on joining Belt and Road
Bangladesh has no plan to join the much-talked about Chinese flagship Belt and Road Initiative, which has been taken to rediscover the ancient Silk Road for trade across Asia and the Europe, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said on Sunday.
The minister made the comments at a press meet at his secretariat office in Dhaka after a meeting with Zhang Zuo, the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh.
Ahmed said till now they did not think about joining the belt and road initiative of China.
The minister also talked on Bangladesh's duty-free market access to China. Bangladesh as a least developed country (LDC) has been enjoying zero-duty benefit on export to China on 5,074 products, a majority of which are garment items.
But as per rules of the World Trade Organisation, LDCs are supposed to get duty-free market access on their 97 percent products.
The minister also hoped that China will continue to give duty benefit to Bangladesh even after the latter's graduation to a developing nation in 2024. “We have already sent a letter to China to continue to getting the duty benefit on exports,” Ahmed told reporters.
Bangladesh has started taking efforts to enjoy the duty facility as the Chinese government said that it would cancel the benefits it gives under the existing Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), Ahmed said.
Bangladesh has also been trying to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Asian economic giant to continue to get the duty benefit, the minister said. But the signing of an FTA generally takes a long time, he said. Bangladesh has been enjoying duty benefit on export of 83 products under the APTA to China.
China is the largest import destination for Bangladesh.