Concerted effort from both the public and private sectors of the country is needed for Bangladesh to become eligible for the new Generalised System of Preferences+ (GSP+) facility in the European Union (EU) market, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP said.
The minister made the comment in a webinar titled, "Economic Tie of Bangladesh and Europe: New Regulatory Regime" held on the second day of Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2021 on Wednesday, said a press release.
The Ministry of Commerce and the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) jointly organised the programme.
"After LDC graduation, we will lose the 'Duty Free Quota Free' market access in the EU market. The EU has proposed to remove the import-share criterion from the GSP+ eligibility in the draft published last month of the new GSP regulation. Bangladesh will be the direct beneficiary of this change," Tipu Munshi said.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman, Mohammadi Group Managing Director Dr Rubana Huq, Unilever Bangladesh Ltd CEO and Managing Director Zaved Akhtar, EON Group of Industries Chairman and Managing Director Momin Ud Dowlah, Grameenphone Ltd CEO Yasir Azman and Standard Chartered Bangladesh CEO Naser Ejaj Bijoy spoke at the event.
The speakers said that Bangladesh is an emerging market with a congenial atmosphere for attracting European investment, with examples of many multinational success stories, the press release added.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman in his brief presentation said Bangladesh is one of the main trading partners of Europe, accounting for around 35% of the country's total trade in 2020.
"After LDC graduation, Bangladesh will face strict rules of origin requirements. Bangladesh should sign FTAs and PTAs with the EU and the UK, which will guarantee preferential market access for exports to the European market," he said.
The DCCI president invited European investors to invest in the pharmaceuticals and API sectors, as well as high-tech parks and special economic zones (SEZs).
"LDC graduation will open up new opportunities for us. In terms of compliant factories, Bangladesh's position is commendable. The buyers should also look into a sustainable pricing system. But for that, we have to go for diversification and value added products," Mohammadi Group Managing Director Dr Rubana Huq said.
EON Group of Industries Chairman and Managing Director Momin Ud Dowlah said Bangladesh is the third largest vegetable, rice and Telapia fish producer in the world; adding that European investors have good potential here in the food processing industry.
He added that although Bangladesh has an agro-friendly policy, the country still needs a few policy reforms.
Standard Chartered Bangladesh CEO Naser Ejaj Bijoy said Bangladesh is a congenial market in terms of the financial sector.
"There are challenges in this sector. This market will be a profitable one, if all these challenges overcome," he said.