Speakers at a seminar on Saturday said the country may miss out the opportunity of trade war if necessary infrastructures are not developed to welcome the shifting foreign direct investment (FDI).
“Unfortunately, Bangladesh is not getting such shifting investment,” said Dr Mostafa Abid Khan, member of Bangladesh Tariff Commission, at the seminar titled ‘Trade War and Its Implications for Bangladesh’.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) jointly organised the seminar at DCCI auditorium.
Chaired by DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan, the function was addressed, among others, by Commerce Secretary Shubhashis Bose, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Vice Chairman Bijoy Bhattacharjee, EnergyPac Managing Director Humayun Rashid, World Bank senior economist Dr Masrur Reaz.
Shubhashis Bose said the trade war between the USA and China may not last long, but Bangladesh has to develop infrastructures in a way so that FDI should sustain once it comes here.
Disagreed with a suggestion that Bangladesh should go for devaluation of its currency to compete with its neighbours, he said such step is very risky as it will push up the inflation as the country has to import raw materials for its export.
“Rather, we’ve to improve the efficiency of our production to sustain the competition,” he added.
The commerce secretary said most of the shifting investment belongs to South Korea and Japan but such investment is absent in Bangladesh.
The EPB vice chairman said the USA has imposed duty under the trade war on those Chinese products which Bangladesh does not export to America.
Humayun Rashid said Bangladesh should seriously study the trade war between the USA and China as what kind of benefits it could derive from such economic conflict.
Dr Mashrur Reaz said no country can have sustainable growth without opening up its market to foreign investment.
He said there is cost of liberalisation, but the advantage of such step is 10 times higher than the cost.
Reaz observed that there is no improvement in the ease of doing business despite various commitments and steps taken by the authorities concerned.
Additional Secretary to Commerce Ministry Sharifa Khan said Bangladesh can take the advantage of trade war as the prices of steel and aluminum have gone down on the global market following the trade war.
He said Bangladesh should be very careful so that environmentally hazardous industries are not relocated here.
Commerce Ministry’s deputy secretary Dr Abu Yusuf said Bangladesh lags behind in implementation of mega infrastructure projects and developing its human resources to welcome the FDI.
He said the investment ratio is far behind the required 40 percent of GDP to achieve the country’s goal to become a developed country.
Dr Yusuf said Bangladeshi products from the newly set up economic zones may be subjected to compliance issue as its law does not allow trade union like those in export processing zones (EPZ).