Export opportunities to China remains unutilised
In the beginning it was inspiring to note that China had extended duty-free access to 97 per cent of Bangladeshi goods in July last year. In other words, Bangladesh has been entitled to export 8,256 products under the tariff-free regime to China. Right after this initiative, it was expected that Bangladesh's export to China in the second half of last year would jump significantly. Unfortunately, Bangladesh failed to make the best of that opportunity. Experts have opined that expected increase in export to China could not happen because of lack in diversified goods and the fallouts of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is important to mention that every year China imports about $2.1 trillion worth of goods from all over the world. Moreover, is projected that within next seven to ten years this amount will be doubled. Currently, China's consumer market is set to expand by 12 per cent every year to reach $8.4 trillion by 2022. Studies suggest that because of the country's vast population, the Chinese consumer market will overtake America's by 2034. Considering the country's increasing trend of import and consumer market, the tariff free access in China's market is crucial for Bangladesh. It has been projected that Bangladesh's one per cent increase in export to China will amount to $26 billion in a year.
Moreover, in the upcoming years Bangladesh will lose its tariff free export privilege in European countries due to the country's graduation to a developing country. Considering the export prospects to China, Bangladesh has been blessed with a great opportunity, the tariff free access in market. We cordially thank to the government of China for its initiative. Now it is our responsibility to retain and properly utilise the opportunity.
Disappointedly, Bangladesh's export to China does not reflect the potentials. In addition, there is a huge trade deficit with China which stood at $12,808 Million in FY-2019. Bangladesh's contribution to China's annual import is only 0.05 per cent. Statistics show that there is a pledge of Chinese investment worth $27 billion in Bangladesh in different sectors, but so far only $3 billion was invested. Hence, Bangladesh should diversify in manufacturing goods and proactively seek Chinese investment along with technological knowhow.
Leather and leather goods are a potential sector that can attract Chinese investment. China could be a very good export destination for the leather and leather goods. Agricultural and fish products can also be included. Furthermore, we need to explore and make the best use of duty-free access opportunities to Chinese markets sincerely to pave the way of smooth and uninterrupted economic development of Bangladesh.