New export items, improved skills, technology transfer along with policy reforms and a strong domestic market are going to play a big role in facing LDC exit challenges for Bangladesh, policy makers and business leaders said on Thursday.
They said this while taking part at a webinar on "LDC graduation of Bangladesh: Transformation and preparedness" held on the 3rd day of 'Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2021.'
Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, was the chief guest while DCCI President Rizwan Rahman chaired and moderated the session.
Dr Kaikaus said 81 percent of the GDP that comes from the private sector reflects the strength of its vibrancy.
"We have to facilitate private sector and have to make a strong bond between the public and private sector as private sector plays the major role in the economic transformation in the country. Entrepreneurs of Bangladesh are very hard-working and resilient," he said.
Syed Manzur Elahi, chairman, Apex Group and former Adviser to the Caretaker Government said that many people always talks about export diversification, but it is not happening in reality.
He said, "We have to create jobs that helps alleviate poverty and it is the duty of private sector to create jobs. For creating jobs, country needs industries. Due to our skill shortages, thousands of foreign workers are working in Bangladesh and remit about USD 5 billion every year. Leather sector is a highly labour intensive, capital intensive and this sector has a huge scope of technology adaptation." Citing an example of Vietnam in the leather footwear industry, he said Bangladesh and Vietnam stepped into this sector at the same time but Vietnam is now exporting footwear worth of US$16 to $17 billion whereas Bangladesh is stuck around $1 billion.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh, secretary, Ministry of Commerce, in his introductory remarks said every graduating economy undergoes a transitional process with a deep aspiration of renewed economic journey.
Upon graduation, Bangladesh will come across some key challenges including loss of duty-free quota-free facility, increased tariff rates, technological adaptation, increased competition at both local and international market, standard and quality, stringent rules of origins, skills upgradation and trade and industrial compliance issues, he added.
Alongside, he said, the graduation will also generate ample of opportunities in many respects including private sector development, enriched industrial base, investment and trade growth and local market expansion and so on.
Moderator of the session, Rizwan Rahman said technology transfer is no longer a choice but a necessity now.
He said Bangladesh's economic condition is quite resilient and progressive that after the graduation, the country will be able to make its position stronger.
But before that the first and foremost thing is to ensure product diversification in the export basket and technology adaptation as well as domestic market development, he said. And for product diversification, he suggested to provide all facilities to the export oriented industries that the RMG sector is availing now.