As a developing nation, after 2026, readymade garment (RMG) and other major export sectors will have to face different duty and non-duty measures in the international market, speakers say
Experts on Saturday said that better negotiation skills, diversification, improved competitiveness, and institutional capacity building are key to economic success after Bangladesh graduates from a least developed country (LDC) to a developing one.
They made the call at a webinar titled “LDC Graduation of Bangladesh: Journey towards Economic Excellence” organized by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Ahmad Kaikaus joined the webinar as the chief guest while Economic Relations Division Secretary Fatima Yasmin and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin attended as special guests.
Speaking at the event, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman said it was the right time to increase trade and investment as well as adopt long-term strategic planning and their effective implementation to strengthen Bangladesh’s position in the international arena after LDC graduation.
“Bangladesh’s identity as a developing nation in the international arena will uphold the competitiveness of the country which will take us to a greater height and will contribute to enhancing export and FDI,” he said.
As a developing nation, after 2026, readymade garment (RMG) and other major export sectors will have to face different duty and non-duty measures in the international market.
Considering this reality, Rizwan requested the government to frame a roadmap to chalk out necessary preparations from the private sector and policy measures to widen the export market of traditional and non-traditional items.
He also urged framing an outline to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and increase investment-GDP and tax-GDP ratios.
“Moreover, emphasis should be given on regional connectivity including signing PTAs and FTAs, especially with those countries Bangladesh has a trade imbalance with,” added the DCCI president.
It is appreciable that government has the vision to increase the contribution of CMSME sector to the economy up to 32% by the year 2024, he further said.
Ahmad Kaikaus said that LDC graduation for Bangladesh is a milestone.
“We have to mainly focus on how to become competitive. The role of the government is to remove barriers,” he added.
“Bangladesh is a land of 165 million people so we have a big market of our own. The more the country will be competitive, the less will be the cost of funds,” he further said.
He also said that Bangladesh has to explore regional and Asian markets.
Kaikaus cited an example that being a developing nation, China is dominating world trade, so there is no reason to be afraid of Bangladesh graduating from the LDC status.
The entrepreneurial capacity of Bangladeshi people is the strength needed to overcome all hurdles, he said.
ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin said that as per the 8th five-year plan, the role of the private sector is about 81% in the economy.
“LDC graduation will boost our resources and increase the confidence of our entrepreneurs. It may have a few challenges but the government is taking necessary preparations. We may indeed lose duty-free, quota-free access, special waivers, and preferential treatment. But the EU will give us preferences till 2029.
“Besides, we have to best capitalize the existing benefits in the next five years. Moreover, after graduation, the government is planning to negotiate with the WTO for giving us preferences for the next 12 years after 2026. For signing PTA and FTA, the government is in discussion with 11 countries,” she added.
She also stressed product diversification, skill development, high-value product, 4IR technological preparedness, new market exploration, improving competitiveness, and negotiation skills.
FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin said that to become competitive after LDC graduation, Bangladesh has to strengthen its backward linkage industries.
“The knit and woven sector need value addition to attract local and foreign investments,” he said, urging for faster implementation of special economic zones (SEZs).
He also underscored the importance of engaging the private sector in the implementable policy framework.
Barrister Nihad Kabir, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), said LDC graduation is an opportunity for Bangladesh.
“We may think of losing a few benefits, but in the long run, we will be benefited a lot. Yes, there will be challenges, but if the government and private sector can work hand in hand, Bangladesh can gain a lot,” she said.
She also urged the government to improve negotiation skills.
Nihad also stressed researching with the help of international experts and practitioners.