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DHAKA:Bangladesh has sought GSP Plus benefit after 2027 from the European Union (EU) once it graduates to a developing country from least developed one by 2024.
The country’s top trade officials came up with the request at the fourth Bangladesh-EU Business Climate Dialogue held in the Commerce Ministry at Secretariat in Dhaka on Thursday.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed led a Bangladesh delegation at the dialogue while EU Ambassador in Dhaka Rensje Teerink led the EU delegation.
“We have sought GSP Plus benefit in the European market once Bangladesh will graduate to developing country by 2024. As there will be no longer GSP facility for the country after 2027, we sought for the trade privilege for local merchandises from the EU,” Tofail told reporters after the dialogue.
The Commerce Minister said Bangladesh would enjoy the GSP facility up to 2027 even after it graduate to developing country.
“As an LDC, Bangladesh is now enjoying duty and quota-free export facility for all products except arms and ammunitions in the EU market under the generalised scheme of preferences (GSP). We’re grateful to the EU for extending such a trade privilege, which ultimately help Bangladesh to secure Europe as the single largest export market,” said Tofail.
The 28 nations economic bloc accounts for 52 per cent of Bangladesh’s annual export, which stood at US$ 21.33 billion in last fiscal and Bangladesh’s annual import from the EU hit US$3.5 billion.
“We also asked for more investment from European countries here for further deepening economic cooperation between Bangladesh and EU,” said Tofail, adding, “Bangladesh has already become a lucrative investment destination as the country offers huge incentives for the foreign investors.”
Bangladesh is developing 100 export-processing zones (EPZs) across the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The initiate has been taken to attract more overseas investment.
“We invited the EU’s investment in the designated EPZs in Bangladesh and we may be considering providing special facility to the investment in EU states there,” said Tofail. Responding to a question, he said, both the sides have formed five working groups to promote bilateral trade and ease trade barriers.
“The EU is providing the duty-free benefit (GSP facility) to Bangladeshi exports under Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme and the country will enjoy the facility at least for some years even after graduating from a least developed country to a middle income one,” said EU ambassador Rensje Teerink.
She said both the sides have been working to resole trade disputes through joint working groups. We hope this initiative will leave a positive impact on promoting bilateral trade between Bangladesh and EU.