The country’s apex trade body Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) sees opportunity in LDC graduation rather than challenges.
“There is widespread fear about Bangladesh’s LDC graduation. But I think it might be an opportunity for the country instead of becoming a challenge,” FBCCI president Md Jasim Uddin told a press conference on Thursday.
The planned 100 economic zones, 12 existing EPZs, the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) park project are going to be major strength of the country to turn the challenges into opportunities, Jasim Uddin thinks.
“Earlier, it was very difficult to invest in Bangladesh by buying land, but the economic zones are going to put an end to that hassle,” he stated, adding: Now, we can invite foreigners to invest in Bangladesh.”
With the exit from LDC bracket, Bangladesh is going to lose preferential trade benefits, which is going to make it less competitive. In a bid to absorb the shock, the government mulls bilateral trade arrangements like PTAs and FTAs with large export destinations.
The FBCCI president shrugged off the fear about free trade agreement (FTA) and said it won’t be a problem if Bangladesh can strike a balance between bilateral trade.
He gave example of the US market where Bangladeshi apparels has seen 23 percent export growth without GSP facility.
He, however, added that Bangladesh will need GSP facilities in the EU market, its second largest export destination, for 10 more years until 2031 to get prepared for facing the graduation challenge as well as becoming a well off nation by 2041.
The apex trade body held the press conference to inform the media about the outcome of recent visit of an FBCCI delegation, lead by its president, to the UK and France as the Prime Minister’s entourage.
During the visit, the business leaders tried to woo foreign investment, from the second and third generation NRBs in particular, explore market for new Bangladeshi products in Europe and branding Bangladesh, FBCCI president told reporters.
Their main objective was to engage the new generation NRBs with Bangladesh’s development process by presenting positive image of the country, which will be crucial for the country in the coming days.
In reply to a question, Jasim did not support the fuel price hike at a time when the country is reeling from the corona shock. “It has not been fair to raise fuel price in this volatile situation.”
Instead of abrupt price hike, local fuel price should be made floating according to international price, the apex trade body suggested.
In reply to another question with regard to rising bad loans in banks, he pointed out that 98 percent of the loan defaulters are large borrowers who have been really faced a setback during the covid period.
For this, he also slammed banks, alleging that they don’t want to go to the small borrowers or the grass root level as it is inconvenient for them.