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Tofail: Japan to extend free market access after LDC graduation

  • Published at 11:56 pm July 31st, 2018
File photo of Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed Dhaka Tribune

The minister was speaking at a press conference about his recent trip to Japan at his office on Tuesday

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Tuesday said Japan assured him of continued duty free market access to Japan for Bangladeshi goods even after Bangladesh graduates to developing country status.

The minister was speaking at a press conference about his recent trip to Japan at his office on Tuesday.

Tofail Ahmed with a nine member delegation from the business community and government officials visited Japan.

“The Japanese government has assured us of free market access after we graduate to developing country status for all goods except hand gloves and arms,” said Tofail Ahmed.

Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko provided this assurance to the Bangladeshi delegation during their meeting in Japan.

As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh enjoys duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) trade to Japanese market.

“Japan is a high potential market for Bangladeshi products and very soon it would be larger export destination for our goods, especially apparel and leather, and export earnings would reach to $2 billion over the next two to three years,” said Tofail.

As per the latest data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), in the fiscal year 2017-18, Bangladesh earned $1.13 billion from exports to Japan, which is 11.73% higher compared to $1.01 billion in FY17.

Out of $1.13 billion export earnings from Japan in the last fiscal year, $846.73 million or 74.8% came from the RMG sector. And apparel exports to Japan have seen a 13.73% rise compared to previous year’s earnings of $744.48 million

Meanwhile, Japan has shown a keen interest in hiring skilled labour from Bangladesh for its textile industry.

“In attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the Japanese investors in Bangladesh, we offered a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and they seemed very interested in the offer,” said Tofail.

Currently, a total of 266 Japanese companies are operating in Bangladesh.

Given their interest in investing in Bangladesh, a Japanese business delegation under the leadership of Japanese commerce minister will visit Bangladesh very soon, Tofail said.

Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose was present during the press conference. 

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