FTA to help Bangladesh’s LDC graduation

Staff Correspondent

11 October, 2020 12:00 AM printer

In a bid to face the challenge of LDC graduation, speakers on Saturday suggested starting negotiation for free trade agreement (FTA).

They came up with the view at a virtual seminar on “LDC Graduation by 2024 and Readiness of Bangladesh,” jointly organised by International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) and Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI).

Salman Fazlur Rahman, Adviser to Prime Minister on Private Industry and Investment and Chairman of the Board of Governors of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) graced the programme as the chief guest with IBFB President Humayun Rashid in the chair.

Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said Bangladesh should negotiate from now for the facility to continue and also prepare for free trade agreement. 

 “We need more study and research to build the capacity of the private sector and government officials to negotiate for free trade agreement (FTA)”, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) Acting President M Humayun Kabir said.

IBFB and BEI are working in this sector and also support the private sector to enhance the skill of negotiation for better price, added Humayun Kabir.

“Bangladeshi exporters’ negotiation skill is weak. Even though we have green industries in our country, we are unable to negotiate better price. We need to build better skill to negotiate”, BKMEA former president Fazlul Hoque said.

Stressing need for technical skill and good education system, Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) President Anwar-Ul Alam Chowdhury Parvez thinks that only private sector can’t change the system, government should take necessary steps to change the education system.

Local industries will face more competition from manufacturer of other countries in coming days, said Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Research Director Dr. Monzur Hossain suggesting to build both the internal and external capacity.

“The government is considering for free trade agreement (FTA). Bangladesh has lacking for country branding, we should go for massive publicity through global media,” Adviser to Prime Minister on Private Industry and Investment Salman Fazlur Rahman said.

He also proposed to create a fund of $ 400 million for global publicity and asked the private sector to contribute in the fund.  The Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) Research Director Dr. M. A. Razzaque presented the keynote at the programme.

In his presentation, Dr. MA Razzaque made a set of recommendations on future trade agreement.

He suggested to consider those FTAs only where export market access is critical and to negotiate with the EU, UK, US, India and China differently.

Bangladesh needs setting up Chief Trade Representative or Negotiator’s office to develop and manage trade negotiation stances and retaining duty-free access in the Indian and Chinese markets should be an important priority, said MA Razzaque.

He also recommended improving in cost of doing business, better exchange rate management and gaining efficiency through better inland transportation and port management.

Farooq Sobhan, Distinguished Fellow, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) moderated the virtual seminar.

Among others, M.S. Siddiqui, Legal Economist & Vice President, International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB), Syed Nasim Manzur, Former President, the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI), also joined the programme.