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Bangladesh seeks GSP Plus trade facilities from EU

  • Published at 10:46 pm October 4th, 2018
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Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed speaking at the Fourth European Union-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue with the EU delegation and ambassadors of various EU countries on October 04, 2018 PID

As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh currently enjoys duty free market access to EU countries under the Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme

Bangladesh has sought Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus trade facilities from the European Union (EU), after the country’s graduation to developing country status by 2024.

As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh currently enjoys duty free market access to EU countries under the Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme. 

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed requested the GSP Plus trade facilities at the Fourth European Union-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue, held in Dhaka yesterday. An EU delegation and ambassadors of various EU countries were in attendance.  

“Bangladesh will graduate to developing country status by 2024, and it will enjoy duty free market access under the EBA scheme till 2027 as an LDC,” the minister said.

“After graduation to developing country status, we will no longer be eligible for trade facilities under the EBA scheme. As such, I urge the EU to provide GSP Plus trade facilities for Bangladesh after graduation,” he added.

Tofail also urged the EU to invest in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Bangladesh, and said the EU- Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue would be held every six months in order to resolve problems through dialogue.

Over 60% of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from 28 member countries of the EU. In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $21.33 billion to EU countries, and imported products worth $3.5 billion.

Regarding the GSP Plus trade facilities, EU Head of Delegation and Ambassador to Bangladesh, Rensje Teerink, said: “Bangladesh enjoys duty free market access to EU under EBA. It is very important to look into that (GSP Plus) as the EU export market is crucial for Bangladesh.” 

In addition, the EU envoy urged Bangladesh to ensure ease of doing business in the country, so businesses from the EU could increase investment. 

“Through dialogue, we are resolving problems related to doing business, and bilateral trade between Bangladesh and the EU is increasing as a result,” she added. 

On March 16, the UN Committee for Development Policy announced Bangladesh’s eligibility for graduation to developing country status, as it had met prerequisite criteria in terms of national income per capita, the Human Assets Index, and the Economic Vulnerability Index. 

Bangladesh will have to pass reviews in 2021 and 2024 before being able to shed LDC status. After graduation, the country will be given a three year grace period before preferential trade facilities it enjoys as an LDC are withdrawn.