Thursday, 9 December, 2021

Bangladesh should focus more on regional trade blocs: experts

Bangladesh should focus more on regional trade blocs: experts

Experts at a webinar observed that Bangladesh should focus more on regional trade blocs to attract trade and investments.

They made the observation at the webinar on "Asia and Pacific and Bangladesh: Harnessing Economic Potentials" held on the fourth day of "Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2021", said a press release here.

Bangladesh is located in a strategic location in the Asia and Pacific and poised to improve its competitiveness to make its vibrant position in this region but the country needs to work more in policy reforms, product diversification, market diversification, business process simplification, competitive tax and tariff regime, infrastructure development to harness the economic potentials, they mentioned.

Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah was the chief guest at the webinar while Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yasmin was present as special guest.

Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki joined the webinar as the guest of honour while Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman delivered a power point presentation.

"Bangladesh has a very strategic location in the Asian region. Asia is the new economic frontier now and Bangladesh is a part of it," Tofazzel Hossain Miah said, adding that Bangladesh is poised to transform in many areas with some commendable achievements.

He said LDC graduation is a sign of Bangladesh's proven macroeconomic strength and resilience as well as our readiness. "We are trying to uplift the living standards of the vulnerable people," he added.

He also underscored the importance of sustainable infrastructure. Bangladesh is located in a strategic location close to two big economies like China and India and it is an opportunity for Bangladesh.

Fatima Yasmin said Bangladesh have fastest growing economy in Asia and Covid-led pandemic has hampered our growth momentum though Bangladesh's economic pace was very smooth.

"Due to adequate policy support, investment in infrastructure, resilient, dynamic and engaging private sector Bangladesh has been able to maintain a sustainable economic growth momentum," she added.

Rizwan Rahman said the bilateral trade of Bangladesh and Asia and Pacific region hovers around US$36 Billion.

"Asia and Pacific is the third largest export destination of Bangladesh but it does not have any Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Asia and Pacific member countries," he added.

The DCCI President suggested that the rules of origin need to be relaxed by Asia and Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) for export growth from LDCs.

More bilateral and multilateral agreements are to be made to tap the untapped markets of the Asian countries, he added.

Ito Naoki said in next 5 years per capita income of Bangladesh will reach to US$3000 dollars.

He said that lack of infrastructure is a bottleneck for investment but for Bangladesh it will be solved soon.

Japan has been the largest export market for Bangladesh and trade between Bangladesh and Japan has increased by 10 percent in the last fiscal, he added.

Among others, Nitol Niloy Group Chairman Abdul Matlub Ahmad and Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President Barrister Nihad Kabir spoke, among others, on the occasion.