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Post-Covid: Bangladesh seeks UK’s GSP extension till 2030 to boost trade

  • Published at 04:57 pm August 29th, 2020
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Photo: BIGSTOCK

Dhaka also needs access to vaccines, Bangladesh high commissioner in London tells All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on SDGs

Bangladesh on Saturday sought a post-Covid extension of the United Kingdom’s generalized system of preferences (GSP) facility to Bangladeshi products until 2030 in order to boost trade between Dhaka and London.

Speaking before the UK parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on sustainable development goals (SDGs), Bangladesh High Commissioner in London Saida Muna Tasneem said that the extension was also needed for greater support to Dhaka’s low-carbon climate-resilient development strategies for a faster post-Covid recovery with respect to SDGs.

She also said that Bangladesh needed access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“We want post-Brexit UK to continue its GSP, allowing zero-tariff access for Bangladeshi products to its markets until 2030, greater flexibility and concessions in Bangladesh’s post-LDC graduation threshold and higher climate financing by the UK for moving towards a low-carbon climate-resilient development pathway in the post-Covid global economic downturn”, said the high commissioner during an oral evidence session of the British parliamentary inquiry into the progress and effectiveness of British aid in supporting Bangladesh’s SDG achievements and the impact of Covid-19.

Members from the UK’s APPG on SDGs, including, its Chair Lord Jack Wilson McConnell, accompanied by Baroness Natalie Louise Bennett, Lord Andrew Stunell and Baroness Rosel Boycott were present at the inquiry session on Wednesday, said the Bangladesh High Commission in London in a statement.

Tasneem said that Bangladesh had delivered brilliantly on its pre-Covid SDGs performances as witnessed last month during its second Voluntary National Review at the UNHLPF on SDGs in New York, exceeding many SDG targets ahead of the slotted 2020 and 2025 deadlines.

These include SDG 1 and 10 on reducing poverty and inequality and enhancing economic growth, SDG 2 on achieving food security, SDG 3 on Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 4 on Quality Education, SDG 5 on gender parity, SDG 6 on clean drinking water and sanitation, SDG 13 building climate resilience and many more, she said.

The high commissioner also apprised the APPG that having assumed the presidency of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in 2020, Bangladesh was prioritizing climate financing for delivering on reducing extreme climate disaster vulnerabilities and building back a climate-resilient post-Covid future for Bangladesh and other CVF members, including implementation of the “Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP) 2100”.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s post-Covid SDG and economic recovery challenges, Tasneem categorically mentioned: “In post-Covid, Bangladesh’s apparel sector export earnings that suffered unprecedented cancellations and non-payments by the UK and other global retailers need early recovery along with a recovery of crops and infrastructural losses of more than $6 billion caused by extreme climatic disasters like the recent cyclone Amphan and monsoon flooding, making millions homeless and slide back to poverty.”

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