BD to become middle income country by 2021
Tofail hopes GSP plus facilities from EU
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed hoped that Bangladesh will get GSP (generalized system of preferences) Plus status from the European Union (EU) despite some presumed challenges when it graduates from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to middle income country by 2021.
He expressed his conviction at a joint press briefing after a meeting with the 16-member delegation of EU Parliament, led by EU Parliament International Trade Committee Chairman Bernd Lange, at the State Guest House Meghna.
Terming the meeting and exchange of views as fruitful, the EU delegation leader commended Bangladesh for attaining impressive economic development with 6 to 7 per cent growth over the past years.
Tofail said Bangladesh was diversifying its exports to cut dependency on RMG (redymade garment) and that is why the country has set goals to earn $ 5 billion from IT sector by 2021 while another $ 5 billion from pharmaceutical sector and $ 5 billion from leather and leather goods.
Bangladesh now earns some $27 billion from RMG exports annually.
"We have to look forward after the LDC status is gone and off course the LDC is getting better for other status GSP Plus or trade agreement," Lange said while talking about Bangladesh's ambition to be a middle-income country.
Referring to the 27 conventions for getting GSP Plus status, he said: "We have to prepare to achieve this end. The process is going on but time is limited, so we agreed to focus on these requirements for GSP Plus and try to include these conditions into paradox as it would help us to go for a concrete requirement."
BSS adds: Answering to a question, Lange replied that "We have got a picture after visiting different factories and I am optimistic that these people are really able to improve the condition needed for moving ahead.
Replying to a query, the Commerce Minister said many countries are not providing quota and duty free access to Bangladesh but bilateral trade with those countries is running well. "We would go for FTA with different countries after getting out from the LDCs."
Tofail said the EU delegation is pleased to know that Bangladesh has attained desired progresses in labour safety and security, trade union, infrastructure, labour law and fire safety. "The government has lifted all duties on fire safety equipment to meet the requirement."
This is the fourth time the EU delegation sat with Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza tragedy to follow up for the betterment of the overall scenario of the country's apparel sector.
Mentioning that the EU is providing quota and duty free access to all 48 LDCs for everything excepting arms, he said: "Compared to other 47 counties, I emphasized that Bangladesh has done its best and there is no doubt about it."