Tapping of CIS market underscored at ICAB seminar
To enhance export of products and services from Bangladesh, it is needed to explore untapped markets in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Latin America and African regions instead of concentrating only on two areas -European Union including the UK, and the USA.
The African continent has the least market share for Bangladesh but a huge opportunity lies there. There are fourteen SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries in the continent.
The SADC is a bloc, a common customs union which could be a gateway to 290 million people.
If a product enters into a member-country, it can easily travel to other countries without facing customs problems.
So efforts are necessary to conclude preferential trading agreement or free trade agreement with African countries.
Speakers pointed these observations at a webinar on 'Diversification of Bangladesh's Export Basket: Opportunities and Challenges' organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) on Saturday,
ICAB council member and past president Adeeb H Khan FCA moderated the webinar.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi graced the event as the chief guest. Shubhashish Bose, chief executive officer of ICAB and former senior secretary presented the keynote paper.
Tipu Munshi said, "Export earnings have crucial effects on our investment, GDP growth, real exchange rate, unemployment, government revenue and expenditure."
Diversification of export is the highest priority area of the government and in that view the government is providing subsidy to encourage exports to a number of products. It is also implementing 100 new EPZs for boosting export, he said.
He said, we are to be graduated from least developed country (LDC) to a developing country.
With this new tag of middle income country, Bangladesh will loose the right of getting low interest loans and other trade benefits, he said adding that there is no alternative to export diversification for rapid growth rate.
The minister said, "We have formulated Gold Policy to announce a product of the year so that we can focus more on the product flourish. We have also framed policy on API and leather and leather goods to facilitate the exporters."
Under generalized system preference 80 per cent of Bangladeshi products on duty free, enter in 27 countries of European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland , UK, Turkey, Canada and Russia, said the keynote speaker Shubhashish Bose.
He said, although geographic location of the country is ideal for global trades with very convenient access to international sea and air routes, Bangladesh is facing negative impression in export-import balance of trade. Currently the country is facing trade deficit 15000 million USD.
Exportable six major items are woven garments, knit garments, leather & leather products, jute & jute Goods, agricultural products, frozen foods and constituted 92 percent of our total export during 2019-20 fiscal year, he said adding that IT Sector , Pharmaceutical Products , Ocean going Ship Building Industry , Light Engineering Sector Ceramic and porcelain wares are thrust sectors deserve more attention to bag more foreign currency.
ICAB President Mahmudul Hsana Khusru FCA in welcome speech said, "Our exports concentrated on RMG products. Leveraging Bangladesh's comparative advantage in the cost of labour, RMG exports grew at an impressive rate which made it unique among low-income countries like Bangladesh."
Among other Md. Jafar Uddin, senior secretary, Ministry of Commerce, ICAB vice president Maria Howlader FCA, Md. Mostaque Hassan, ndc, chairman, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), A. H. M. Ahsan, vice chairman & CEO of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh , A F M Fakhrul Islam Munshi, president, Bangladesh Agro-Processors' Association - BAPA, Faruque Hassan, president, The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Golam Ahsan, president, Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufactures & Exporters Association (BANGLACRAFT), Md. Saiful Islam, president, Leather goods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) and vice president, Bangladesh Ship Builders Association, Mohd.
Shafiqul Islam, chairman, Bangladesh Jute Goods Exporters' Association (BJGEA) and Syed Almas Kabir, president, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) were present in the seminar.