Another step ahead to be a developing country
It is heartening to note that Bangladesh has successfully advanced another step to be recognized as a developing country. The country has received the recommendation from a UN committee for graduating from the least developed country (LDC) status. The UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) made the final decision on Friday night after the second round of review. Bangladesh had fulfilled all the criteria necessary for its graduation to a developing country in 2018 for the first time. However, a country will get recommended for graduation if it can fulfil the criteria in consecutive two triennial reviews.
Hopefully, the UN committee also made recommendations on Bangladesh' appeal to extend the final terminal period to 2026 from 2024. In this regard, Bangladesh has sought to avail the provision of the five-year period for preparations to leave the group of least developed--due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative impact on its socio-economic condition.
Unquestionably, the recommendation of the CDP after their second review is a great achievement for Bangladesh--which indicates the development process of Bangladesh is on the right track. For the second time the country has fulfilled all the three eligibility criteria for the graduation: income per capita, human assets, and economic and environmental vulnerability. Despite Covid-19 incurred economic challenges and other setbacks Bangladesh could secure the economic progress, which is astounding. We welcome the government for its time relevant policies and their proper implementation.
Now the concern is that, after being graduated as a developing country Bangladesh will have to face some economic challenges. As a least-developed country, Bangladesh currently enjoys zero-duty benefits on its shipments to the European Union, Canada, Australia and some other countries. After the graduation, initially, the country will lose $7 billion in export earnings every year as the trade benefits it currently enjoys will be ended. It will pose an impediment to our apparel exports. The graduation will also increase the rate of interest of external debt. Our future policy, therefore, should be crafted to offset all the likely adverse impacts so that the road to further progress is unhindered.
The loss in export earnings can be averted if Bangladesh manages to negotiate bilateral trade deals with the countries which are business partners. For instance, Bangladesh can lobby with the EU to grant it the GSP+ scheme, under which the country can continue to enjoy zero per cent duty. Coordinated diplomatic effort should be taken to ensure that Bangladesh's economy can flourish unhindered, after being graduated as a developing country.