Industry Desk: Speakers at a webinar yesterday laid emphasis on upgrading hard and soft business infrastructures; encouraging linkage industries and establishment of special economic zones; and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) park for smooth and sustainable graduation of Bangladesh from LDC status by 2026.
They also advocated for establishment of more fashion design institutes; raising competitiveness by increasing productivity and reducing cost of production; improving business climate and trade facilitation system for sustainable LDC graduation.
They said permanent graduation from the LDC status would be a recognition of real development of the country and the living standards of the people, although Bangladesh will face many challenges.
The experts said this at the virtual webinar on “LDC graduation: Challenges and Opportunities” organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) yesterday.
They noted that the country has developed significant trade-related capacity and adaptability, even after withdrawal of GSP by the US.
The predictions of disaster in the RMG sector during the phasing out of Multifibre Arrangement through Agreement on textiles and clothing, was not true as Bangladesh successfully steered clear of the Global financial crisis having little or no impact on its exports, said a press release.
Planning Minister MA Mannan MP graced the webinar as the chief guest while Sharifa Khan, Member (Secretary), Industry and Energy Division, Planning Commission was present as special guest.
ICAB President Mahmudul Hasan Khusru delivered the welcome address while ICAB Member Council and Past President Md. Humayun Kabir presided over the webinar as the session chairman. Shubhashish Bose, CEO of ICAB and former senior secretary presented the keynote paper. Mostafa Abid Khan, Member, Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC), Ali Hussain Akber Ali, Chairman, BSRM; Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director, Apex; and Monzur Ahmed,
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the LDC graduation would bring a mixed set of new realities and the country would lose a wide variety of preferences and privileges in global trade.
“As the duty-free benefits under the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime will no longer be effective, our exports will face new challenges,” he said adding that tariffs on Bangladesh’s products in major international markets and its debt servicing liabilities will increase due to cessation of concessional finance into the country.
“We need to create a proper enabling business environment in the country,” he suggested.
Mannan also said that the government has taken many initiatives including signing of preferential trade agreements with more countries to increase the overall competitiveness of trade and commerce.
ICAB President Mahmudul Hasan Khusru said, both the private and public sectors should prepare to face the post LDC graduation challenges.
He said that the government is developing 100 special economic zones and more than two dozen Hi-Tech parks to meet the demand of the investors.
“Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) also comes forward to provide one stop services to the investors,” Khusru said adding that the country should opt for bilateral free trade deals to keep the export momentum.
To face the post-LDC challenges and to minimize the negative impacts on trade, the keynote speaker Shubhashish Bose recommended some suggestions which include getting GSP+ facility from the EU GSP, enhancing market access of Bangladeshi products and services through FTA/RTAs with potential trading partners, diversifying the products and markets; exploring the untapped potentials where structural constraints, either at production level or in the area of management of compliance are required.
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