Says Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin
Switzerland is likely to provide Bangladesh with preferential market access past its graduation from the least-developed country bracket, following the lead of the EU, said Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin on Wednesday.
At present, Bangladesh gets duty-free market access to Switzerland as an LDC, as it does to the EU under its Everything but Arms scheme.
Switzerland is not a member of the 27-member trading bloc but essentially follows the EU’s lead when it comes to trade relations.
Bangladesh is on course to graduating from the LDC bracket in 2024 and by 2027 its preferential market access to the EU is supposed to come off.
But the EU has verbally agreed to allow Bangladesh to enjoy the duty-free market access beyond 2027. Now Uddin has expressed hope that Switzerland would extend it, too.
“There is ample scope for enhancing bilateral trade and economic cooperation between Bangladesh and Switzerland,” Uddin said at the 2nd meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee between Bangladesh and Switzerland held at the commerce ministry conference room.
Erwin Bollinger, bilateral economic relations head of the Switzerland embassy in Dhaka, led the Swiss side in the discussion, while Uddin led the Bangladesh side.
In fiscal 2019-20, Bangladesh exported goods worth $106.9 million to Switzerland and imported goods worth $288.5million, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Both the countries would benefit if necessary initiatives are taken in cooperation with the private sector, Uddin added.