The United Kingdom will continue duty-free and quota-free market access for Bangladeshi products after Brexit, said British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson on Monday.
Mentioning the UK as the third largest export market for Bangladesh, he said the bilateral trade between the two countries was $4.51 billion in 2018.
Bangladesh exported $3.76 billion of goods and services to the UK and imported $785 million of goods and services from the country, he added.
The British envoy made the remarks at DCAB Talk organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association Bangladesh (DCAB) at the auditorium of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in the city.
DCAB President Raheed Ejaz and General Secretary Nurul Islam Hasib also spoke.
“Besides, the UK is Bangladesh’s second largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2018, the UK’s net FDI into Bangladesh was $373 million,” he said.
On the business atmosphere, the high commissioner in Dhaka said that Bangladesh needs to improve the ease of doing business.
“I try to convince the UK companies to invest in Bangladesh. But some of them say the procedures of doing businesses in Bangladesh is complicated,” said Robert Chatterton.
He said UK Export Finance current credit limit of $939 million for Bangladesh market shows the UK’s commitment to support potential business opportunities in Bangladesh.
He also said the UK is the 6th largest source of remittance for Bangladesh, with a value of US$ 1.1 billion.
‘Freedom of expression’
The British envoy also emphasized on freedom of expression and the media adding that the freedom of expression and the media are essential qualities of any functioning democracy.
“People must be allowed to discuss and debate issues freely, to challenge their governments, and to make informed decisions,” he said.
As Bangladesh continues its journey of reaching middle income status it is so vital to allow space for a vibrant civil society, through which the people – and especially young people – can channel their energies, and indeed their frustrations, within the law, he said.
He mentioned that a free media is vital to creating an active, informed, creative and engaged population.
The diplomat said the UK is committed to media freedom and the protection of journalists across the world and will be co-hosting the ‘Global Conference for Media Freedom in 2019.’
The conference will be the first of its kind and will take place on July 10 to 11 in London.
The high commissioner said six journalists and media activists from Bangladesh are attending the conference.