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Bangladesh needs concerted efforts to avail new GSP plus in EU: Tipu Munshi

Bangladesh needs concerted efforts to avail new GSP plus in EU: Tipu Munshi

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Speakers at a virtual discussion on Wednesday said that Bangladesh is an emerging market having a congenial atmosphere for attracting European investment.

The European Union nations and the UK are largest buyers of Bangladesh garments, whose imports are increasing after withdraw Covid-19 pandemic related restriction in Europe, they said.

The webinar titled “Economic Tie of Bangladesh and Europe: New Regulatory Regime” held on the 2nd day of Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2021 jointly organized by Ministry of Commerce and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, “It is true that after we graduate, we will lose the ‘Duty Free Quota Free’ market access in EU.”

In the draft of the new GSP regulation, which was published last month, the EU has proposed to remove the import-share criterion from the GSP-plus eligibility, the minister told the webinar as the chief guest.

“Bangladesh will be the direct beneficiary of this change. But both public private sectors have to be cautious to become compliant in all conventions before applying for GSP plus facility in the EU market,” he added. 

In his opening presentation DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said Bangladesh is one of the main trading partners of Europe, accounting for around 35 per cent of (Bangladesh’s) total trade in 2020.

After LDC graduation, the country will face strict ‘Rules of Origin’ requirement, he said.

He suggested Bangladesh sign FTAs /PTAs with the European Union (EU) and the UK, which will bring guaranteed preferential market access for export to the European market.

He invited European investors to invest in pharmaceuticals and API sectors as well as in the high-tech parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Dr. Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group and former BGMEA president said, “We have to ensure our better position in a sustainable manner.”

“LDC graduation will open up new opportunities for us. In terms of compliant factories Bangladesh’s position is commendable. The buyers should also look into a sustainable pricing system. But for that we have to go for diversification and value added products,” she said.

Zaved Akhtar, CEO and Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. said Bangladesh is an emerging market of huge population.

“It is been a phenomenal journey for Unilever in Bangladesh. Per capita FMCG consumption in the country is still only $23 whereas it is $44 in India, $100 in the Philippines,” he added.

Momin Ud Dowlah, Chairman and Managing Director of EON Group of Industries said that Bangladesh is the 3rd largest vegetable producer, 3rd largest rice producer and 3rd largest Telapia fish producer in the country.

European investors have good potential here in food processing industry, he added.

Yasir Azman, CEO, Grameenphone Ltd. said that in 25 years they have been able to become a success story in this market.

“There is a win-win situation in this market. The youth of Bangladesh and technology and digitalization will lead the country to become the developed nation in 2041,” he said.

Naser Ejaj Bijoy, CEO, Standard Chartered Bangladesh said Bangladesh is a congenial market in terms of financial sector.