Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said that the economy of the country would rebound at the beginning of the next calendar year overcoming the impacts of coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy of Bangladesh like other countries of the world. It has put serious impact on various sectors including on export. I hope the Corona crisis will come to an end at the end of this year while the country’s economy will rebound at the beginning of next year,” he said.The Commerce Minister was addressing the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) Workshop Series on COVID-19 and Bangladesh Economy titled “COVID-19″ and International Trade Issues: Policy Option for Promoting Bangladesh’s Exports”.
ERF organized the workshop with the assistance of Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) and the Asia Foundation.
Moderated by ERF General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam, Chairman of RAPID and Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque made the key-note presentation.
DCCI President Shams Mahmud and BUILD Chairman Abul Kashem Khan spoke as the guests of Honour. The Asia Foundation Country Representative Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj and Dhaka University Professor Dr M Abu Eusuf also spoke on the occasion.
The commerce minister said coronavirus has created crisis at one hand, on the other hand, it has also created immense possibilities. “Many countries now want to reduce dependency on import from China while many countries are also thinking to invest in other countries after withdrawing their investment from China…….the US-China trade war has also created immense potentials for us. We’ll have to take steps fast to tap these potentials, otherwise we won’t be able to do it,”
The government, Tipu said, is acting fast realizing its importance adding that work is going on to sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with 12 more countries in the coming days to boost export earnings.In this regard, he informed that FTA is likely to be signed with Bhutan within a month while the process has advanced a lot for signing FTA with Indonesia and some other countries.
Mentioning that the government has set an export target of $48 billion for the next fiscal year (FY21), Tipu expressed his high
optimism of attaining that target.
He said new possibilities are there on the export of leather and leather goods, jute, light engineering and IT alongside the main
exportable item RMG. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get rid of this pandemic at the end of this year and also will be able to expedite our progress with united efforts,” he added.
RAPID Chairman Dr Abdur Razzaque said big-scale change can take place in the global trade system due to the coronavirus. “Many countries can take conservative approach on import. Besides, the movement of people and tourism can be in a limited scale for long during the post COVID-19 period,”
He also called for taking various initiatives to maintain the export growth.