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বাসস

21 September, 2021, 09:30 am

Last modified: 21 September, 2021, 09:35 am

করোনা পরিস্থিতি মোকাবেলা করে এসডিজি অর্জনে বৈশ্বিক রোডম্যাপের আহবান প্রধানমন্ত্রীর 

শেখ হাসিনা তার বক্তব্যে পাঁচ দফা প্রস্তাবনা রেখেছেন, যাতে এসডিজিএস অর্জন নিশ্চিত করতে যথাযথভাবে বৈশ্বিক কোভিড-১৯ মহামারি মোকাবেলা করা প্রয়োজন।

 

কোভিড-১৯ পরিস্থিতি থেকে স্থায়ীভাবে উত্তরণ নিশ্চিত করে ২০৩০ সাল নাগাদ টেকসই উন্নয়ন লক্ষ্যমাত্রা (এসডিজি) অর্জনের জন্য একটি বৈশ্বিক রোডম্যাপের প্রয়োজনীয়তার উপর গুরুত্ব আরোপ করেছেন প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা।

সোমবার টেকসই উন্নয়নের ওপর নবম বার্ষিক আন্তর্জাতিক সম্মেলনে ভার্চুয়ালি বক্তব্য প্রদানকালে এ কথা বলেন প্রধানমন্ত্রী।

তিনি বলেন, 'আমাদের এসডিজির লক্ষ্যমাত্রা অর্জনের পথে ফিরে যাওয়ার জন্য একটি সাহসী ও উচ্চাভিলাষী বৈশ্বিক রোডম্যাপ প্রণয়ন করা প্রয়োজন, যাতে কেউ পেছনে পড়ে না থাকে।'

আর্থ ইনস্টিটিউট, কলাম্বিয়া বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়, গ্লোবাল মাস্টার্স অব ডেভেলপমেন্ট প্র্যাকটিস এবং ইউএন সাসটেইনেবল ডেভেলপমেন্ট সল্যুশনস নেটওয়ার্ক সম্মেলনটির আয়োজন করেছে।

শেখ হাসিনা তার বক্তব্যে পাঁচ দফা প্রস্তাবনা রেখেছেন, যাতে এসডিজিএস অর্জন নিশ্চিত করতে যথাযথভাবে বৈশ্বিক কোভিড-১৯ মহামারি মোকাবেলা করা প্রয়োজন।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, 'এই বৈশ্বিক মহামারি থেকে টেকসই উত্তরণের ওপরেই এখন এসডিজি'র সাফল্য নির্ভর করছে। এখন বিশ্বের সব স্থানে ভ্যাকসিন নিশ্চিত করা সময়ের দাবি এবং তা অতি জরুরি।'

তিনি তার দ্বিতীয় প্রস্তাবনায় বলেন, '২০৩০ এজেন্ডা বাস্তবায়নে আমাদের সম্পদের যে বিশাল ব্যবধান রয়েছে, তা অবশ্যই কমাতে হবে।'

তৃতীয় প্রস্তাবনায় শেখ হাসিনা বলেন, 'চলমান বৈশ্বিক মহামারির অভিঘাতের কারণে ১৯৯৮ সালের পর এই প্রথমবারের মতো বিশ্বব্যাপী দারিদ্র্য বৃদ্ধি পাচ্ছে তার জন্য আমরা উদ্বিগ্ন'।  

তিনি আরো বলেন, আমাদের পুনরুদ্ধার প্রচেষ্টায় কর্মসংস্থান সৃষ্টি, সামাজিক সুরক্ষা, নারীর ক্ষমতায়ন এবং বিজ্ঞান, প্রযুক্তি ও উদ্ভাবনীর ওপর অধিক গুরুত্ব দিতে হবে।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী তার চতুর্থ প্রস্তাবনায় বলেন, 'আমরা বিশ্বাস করি যে-কোভিড-১৯ পরিস্থিতি থেকে পুনরুদ্ধার পদক্ষেপগুলো ভবিষ্যতে যে কোন ধরনের বিপর্যয় বা দুর্যোগ মোকাবেলায় জোরালো প্রতিরোধ গড়ে তুলতে জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনের বিরুদ্ধে যথাযথ ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণকে পূর্ণতা দেবে।'

সর্বশেষ প্রস্তাবনায় তিনি বলেন, এসডিজি বাস্তবায়নে অবশ্যই পর্যবেক্ষণ জোরদার করা ও যান্ত্রিক সহায়তার ওপর আরো গুরুত্ব দিতে হবে।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, এ ব্যাপারে জাতিসংঘের সমন্বয় বাড়ানো উচিৎ।

জরুরি পরিস্থিতি ও বিপর্যয় মোকাবেলায় যথাযথ ও সময়োপযোগী সহায়তা পদক্ষেপ নিশ্চিত করার ওপরও তিনি গুরুত্বারোপ করেন।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী মহামারি ও অন্যান্য জরুরি পরিস্থিতির জন্য প্রতিটি স্তরে অগ্রাধিকার ভিত্তিতে প্রস্তুতি বৃদ্ধির পরামর্শ দেন।

২০৩০ এজেন্ডাকে একটি বৈশ্বিক চুক্তি আখ্যায়িত করে তিনি বলেন, 'এটি সকলের অন্তর্ভুক্তিতে আমাদের টেকসই বৈশ্বিক উন্নয়নের একটি ব্লুপ্রিন্ট। কোন দেশ একা এই এজেন্ডা অর্জন করতে পারবে না। এই এজেন্ডা অর্জনে আমাদের বৈশ্বিক সহযোগিতা ও সংহতি বাড়াতে হবে।'

তিনি আরো বলেন, 'আমরা ইতোমধ্যেই ডিকেড অব ডেলিভারি এবং অ্যাকশন অব দ্য এজেন্ডাতে প্রবেশ করলেও, লক্ষ্য এখনো দূরেই রয়ে গেছে।'

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, 'এমনকি কোভিড-১৯ বৈশ্বিক মহামারির আগেও অনেক দেশ এসডিজি লক্ষ্যমাত্রা অর্জনের পথে ছিল না। এই মহামারি তাদেরকে সেই পথ থেকে আরো পিছিয়ে দিয়েছে।'

তিনি আরো বলেন, কোভিড-১৯ বিশ্বকে হতাশ করেছে। এই বৈশ্বিক প্রাণঘাতী মহামারি বহু মানুষের জীবন কেড়ে নেয়ার পাশাপাশি এর কারণে অসংখ্য মানুষ তাদের জীবিকা হারিয়েছে। মহামারির কারণে বিশ্বব্যাপী লাখ লাখ মানুষ দরিদ্র হয়ে পড়েছে ও ক্ষুধার্ত রয়েছে।

শেখ হাসিনা বলেন, মহামারির কারণে শিক্ষার ব্যাপক ক্ষতি হচ্ছে, বিশেষত শিশুদের শিক্ষা।

বাংলাদেশের মতো জলবায়ু ঝুঁকিপূর্ণ দেশগুলো প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগের পাশাপাশি এই মহামারিতে মারাত্মকভাবে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হয়েছে উল্লেখ করে তিনি বলেন, 'এর ফলে আমাদের উন্নয়নের অর্জন ও এসডিজিএস অগ্রগতি ব্যাপকভাবে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হয়েছে।'

এ ব্যাপারে বাংলাদেশের প্রস্তুতির কথা উল্লেখ করে তিনি বলেন, বাংলাদেশ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনে অ্যাডাপটেশন ও মিটিগেশন প্রচেষ্টায় পথিকৃত। আমরা সম্প্রতি একটি উচ্চাভিলাষী ও আধুনিক এসডিজি পেশ করেছি। 

শেখ হাসিনা বলেন, 'আমরা সবুজ উন্নয়নের মাধ্যমে সমৃদ্ধি অর্জন, লবণাক্ততা সহিষ্ণুতা ও নবায়নযোগ্য জ্বালানীকে প্রাধান্য দিয়ে 'মুজিব ক্লাইমেট প্রোসপারিটি প্ল্যান' গ্রহণ করেছি।'

ক্যামব্রিজ বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় প্রকাশিত সাসটেইনেবল ডেভেলপমেন্ট রিপোর্ট-২০২১ এর বরাত দিয়ে তিনি বলেন, '২০১৫ সাল থেকে এসডিজি সূচকে বাংলাদেশ সবচেয়ে বেশি অগ্রগতি লাভ করেছে।'

প্রধানমন্ত্রী সম্মেলনে বলেন, বাংলাদেশ বর্তমানে বিশ্বের প্রথম পাঁচটি দ্রুততম অর্থনৈতিক অগ্রগতির দেশের মধ্যে অন্যতম এবং জিডিপিতে বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান ৪১তম।

শেখ হাসিনা বলেন, ২০১৫ সাল থেকে আমরা আমাদের জাতীয় পরিকল্পনা ও নীতিমালায় এজেন্ডা ২০৩০ অঙ্গীভূত করতে কঠোর পরিশ্রম করে যাচ্ছি।  

এসডিজি বাস্তবায়ন ও পর্যবেক্ষণের জন্য একটি উচ্চ পর্যায়ের জাতীয় কমিটি গঠন করা হয়েছে।

এই বিষয়ে তিনি বলেন, 'আমরা ইতোমধ্যে ২০১৭ এবং ২০২০ সালে দুটি ভিএনআর জমা দিয়েছি। আমরা আমাদের ৮ম পঞ্চবার্ষিকী পরিকল্পনায় নির্দিষ্ট খাত ভিত্তিক মূল্যায়ন এবং সমন্বিত এসডিজি করেছি। আমাদের দ্বিতীয় পরিপ্রেক্ষিত পরিকল্পনাও এসডিজির সঙ্গে সমন্বয় করা হয়েছে'।

শেখ হাসিনা জানান, তারা ২০৩১ সালের মধ্যে বাংলাদেশকে উচ্চ-মধ্য আয়ের দেশে এবং ২০৪১ সালের মধ্যে উচ্চ-আয়ের দেশে রূপান্তরিত করার কল্পনা করছেন।

ডেল্টা-প্ল্যান ২১০০ গ্রহণ এসডিজি ভিশন এবং এর অধিকতর উল্লেখ করে তিনি বলেন, এর লক্ষ্য আমাদের ভবিষ্যৎ প্রজন্মের জন্য একটি সমৃদ্ধ এবং জলবায়ু স্থিতিস্থাপক বদ্বীপ তৈরি করা।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, তারা 'সমাজের সামগ্রিক সম্পৃক্ততা' নিশ্চিত করতে সরকার, বেসরকারি খাত, সুশীল সমাজ এবং অন্যান্য অংশীদারদের নিয়ে একটি সমন্বিত প্রচেষ্টা গ্রহণ করেছে। যারা সবচেয়ে পিছনে রয়ে গেছে তাদের কাছে পৌঁছানোর জন্য তিনি বলেন, তারা এসডিজি স্থানীয়করণের উপর অতিরিক্ত মনোযোগ দিয়েছেন।

তিনি আরও বলেন, 'আমরা এসডিজি ট্র্যাকার চালু করেছি। এটি আমাদের এসডিজিগুলোর বাস্তবসম্মত অগ্রগতি পর্যবেক্ষণ করার জন্য একটি ডেটা স্টোরহাউস হিসাবে কাজ করে'।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, দেশে অবকাঠামোগত সক্ষমতায় প্রচুর বিনিয়োগ করা হয়েছে।

'আমরা পদ্মা সেতু, ঢাকা মেট্রো রেল, কর্ণফুলি টানেল এবং রূপপুর পারমাণবিক বিদ্যুৎ কেন্দ্রের মতো মেগা অবকাঠামো প্রকল্প চালু করছি। জাতীয় উন্নয়ন এবং অর্থনৈতিক কার্যক্রমে নারীদের মূলধারার মধ্যে রাখা হয়েছে এবং তারা এখন আরএমজির মতো কিছু গুরুত্বপূর্ণ খাতের মেরুদন্ড'।   

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, ডিজিটাইজেশন ও সংযোগে বাংলাদেশের বিনিয়োগ ডিজিটাল অর্থনীতি, তরুণদের নেতৃত্বে উদ্ভাবন এবং রূপান্তরমূলক আর্থ-সামাজিক পরিবর্তনকে উৎসাহিত করেছে। এটি এখন আমাদের কোভিড-১৯ মহামারিকে আরও ভালোভাবে মোকাবেলা করতে সহায়তা করছে। 

তিনি বলেন, 'আমাদের তরুণদের সংখ্যা প্রচুর। ডিজিটাল অর্থনীতি এবং প্রযুক্তিগত উদ্ভাবনের সর্বাধিক সুবিধা পেতে তাদের সহায়তা করার জন্য আমরা তাদের শিক্ষা এবং দক্ষতা বিকাশে প্রচুর বিনিয়োগ করেছি'।

এই অস্থিরতার মুখে তিনি বাংলাদেশের অভিজ্ঞতা এবং 'আরও ভালোভাবে এগিয়ে যাওয়া' এবং ২০৩০ সালের এজেন্ডা প্যারিস জলবায়ু চুক্তি অর্জনের পথে ফিরে আসার বিষয়ে বাংলাদেশের দৃষ্টিভঙ্গি ভাগ করে নেওয়ার সুযোগের জন্য আয়োজকদের ধন্যবাদ জানান।

নীতিনির্ধারক হিসেবে বিশ্ব উন্নয়ন আলোচনার সঙ্গে তার সম্পর্ক দুই দশকেরও বেশি সময় ধরে বলে উল্লেখ করে তিনি বলেন, 'আমি ২০০০ সালে সহস্রাব্দ উন্নয়ন শীর্ষ সম্মেলনে, ২০৩০ সালের যুগান্তকারী এজেন্ডা গ্রহণ এবং ২০১৫ সালে প্যারিস জলবায়ু চুক্তি গ্রহণে বাংলাদেশকে নেতৃত্ব দিয়েছি। এমডিজিতে আমাদের সাফল্য অত্যন্ত তাৎপর্যপূর্ণ ছিল। আন্তর্জাতিক সম্প্রদায় আমাদের সাফল্যের জন্য একটি 'অলৌকিক উন্নয়ন ' হিসাবে স্বীকৃত দিয়েছে, বিশেষ করে দারিদ্রতা হ্রাস, খাদ্য নিরাপত্তা, প্রাথমিক ও মাধ্যমিক বিদ্যালয়ে লিঙ্গ অগ্রাধিকার, শিশু ও মাতৃমৃত্যুর হার হ্রাস, লিঙ্গ সমতা ইত্যাদি'।

সম্মেলনে তিনি বলেন, 'গত এক দশকে আমাদের দারিদ্রতার হার ৩১.৫% থেকে কমে ২০.৫% হয়েছে এবং আমাদের মাথাপিছু আয় তিন গুণেরও বেশি বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে'।

শিশুমৃত্যুর হার প্রতি ১,০০০-এ ২৩.৬৭ ও মাতৃমৃত্যুর হার প্রতি ১ লাখে ১৭৩ জন হ্রাস পেয়েছে এবং জীবনের দীর্ঘায়ু বেড়ে ৭৩ বছর হয়েছে।

তিনি বলেন, তারা মূলত মহিলা এবং শিশুদের স্বাস্থ্যসেবা পরিষেবা প্রদানের জন্য ১৮ হাজারেরও বেশি কমিউনিটি ক্লিনিক এবং স্বাস্থ্যকেন্দ্র স্থাপন করেছেন।

তিনি জানান, ডব্লিউইএফ-এর মতে, নারীর রাজনৈতিক ক্ষমতায়নে বাংলাদেশ ৭ম স্থানে রয়েছে, যা ২০১৪ সাল থেকে তার আঞ্চলিক প্রতিবেশীদের চেয়ে এগিয়ে রয়েছে।

নারী শিক্ষার ওপর বেশি জোর দেওয়া হয়েছে এবং দ্বাদশ শ্রেণি পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশে মেয়েদের শিক্ষা বিনামূল্যে করা হয়েছে।

তিনি বলেন, প্রাথমিক বিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষার্থীরা উপবৃত্তি পাচ্ছে। উপবৃত্তির অর্থ সরাসরি তাদের  মোবাইলের মাধ্যমে মা বা বৈধ অভিভাবকদের কাছে পৌঁঁছায়। প্রায় ২ কোটি ৩০ লাখ শিক্ষার্থীকে উপবৃত্তি এবং বৃত্তির আওতায় আনা হয়েছে।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, তারা দেশে ২০টি নতুন পাবলিক টেকনোলজিক্যাল এবং সাধারণ বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় স্থাপন করেছে, যার ফলে মোট পাবলিক বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের সংখ্যা ৫২-এ উন্নীত হয়েছে।

এছাড়াও প্রায় ১০৫টি বেসরকারী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় দেশে উচ্চশিক্ষা প্রদান করছে বলে তিনি উল্লেখ করেন।

বালিকা-বালক স্কুল তালিকাভুক্তির অনুপাত ২০০৯ সালে ৩৫:৬৫ থেকে ২০১৭ সালে ৫৩:৪৭ এ উন্নীত হয়েছে বলে তিনি সম্মেলনে তুলে ধরেন। প্রাক-প্রাথমিক ও প্রাথমিক স্তরে তালিকাভুক্তি ৯৯% এ উন্নীত হয়েছে। তিনি আরও বলেন, ক্রমবর্ধমান নারী শিক্ষা বাল্যবিবাহের হার উল্লেখযোগ্যভাবে হ্রাস করেছে।

প্রধানমন্ত্রী আরও বলেন, ২০১০ সাল থেকে মাধ্যমিক স্তর পর্যন্ত শিক্ষার্থীদের মধ্যে বিনামূল্যে বই বিতরণ করা হচ্ছে এবং বিদ্যালয়ের মধ্যাহ্নভোজনেরও ব্যবস্থা করা হয়েছে। এর ফলে শিক্ষার্থী ঝড়েপড়া ব্যাপকভাবে হ্রাস পেয়েছে। আমাদের এসডিজি যাত্রা এই সাফল্যগুলোর উপর নির্ভর করে। 

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সেপ্টেম্বর ২১, ২০২১

 

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রাশিয়ার সঙ্গে বাংলাদেশের বাণিজ্য বৃদ্ধির বড় ধরনের সুযোগ রয়েছে। কিন্তু ব্যাংকিং ও শুল্ক জটিলতার কারণে দেশটির সঙ্গে বাণিজ্য বৃদ্ধি করা সম্ভব হচ্ছে না। বিশেষ করে তৈরি পোশাকের ক্ষেত্রে সরাসরি রফতানি করা যাচ্ছে না। এ কারণে অন্য দেশের মাধ্যমে রাশিয়ার বাজারে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক রফতানি হচ্ছে। যদিও এসব জটিলতা নিরসনের উদ্যোগ নিয়েছে বাংলাদেশ।

বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী টিপু মুনশি ও বাংলাদেশে নবনিযুক্ত রাশিয়ার রাষ্ট্রদূত আলেক্সান্ডার ভিকেনতেভিচ মাস্তিতস্কির মধ্যে গতকাল এ বিষয়গুলো নিয়ে আলোচনা হয়। সচিবালয়ের মন্ত্রীর অফিসকক্ষে রাশিয়ার রাষ্ট্রদূত ও বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী

মতবিনিময়কালে এ বিষয়ে আলোচনা করেন।  এ সময় বাণিজ্য সচিব তপন কান্তি ঘোষ, অতিরিক্ত সচিব (রফতানি) মো. হাফিজুর রহমান, অতিরিক্ত সচিব (এফটিএ) নূর মো. মাহবুবুল হকসহ বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের সিনিয়র কমকর্তারা উপস্থিত ছিলেন।

মতবিনিময়কালে বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী টিপু মুনশি বলেন, রাশিয়া বাংলাদেশের ঘনিষ্ঠ বন্ধুরাষ্ট্র। বাংলাদেশের মহান মুক্তিযুদ্ধের সময় রাশিয়া বাংলাদেশের পক্ষে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ ভূমিকা রেখেছিল। এজন্য বাংলাদেশ রাশিয়ার প্রতি কৃতজ্ঞ। রাশিয়ার সঙ্গে বাংলাদেশের বাণিজ্য বৃদ্ধির প্রচুর সুযোগ রয়েছে। ব্যাংকিং চ্যানেলে লেনদেন ও কিছু শুল্ক জটিলতার কারণে রাশিয়ার সঙ্গে বাণিজ্য বৃদ্ধি করা সম্ভব হচ্ছে না। রাশিয়ার বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাকসহ বিভিন্ন পণ্যের বিপুল চাহিদা রয়েছে। তবে বিভিন্ন জটিলতার কারণে অন্য দেশের মাধ্যমে রাশিয়ার বাজারে বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পোশাক রফতানি হচ্ছে।

তবে জটিলতাগুলো চিহ্নিত করা হয়েছে বলে জানান বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী। তিনি বলেন, এগুলো সমাধানের প্রচেষ্টা চলছে। সমস্যাগুলোর সমাধান হলে রাশিয়ার বাজারে বিপুল পরিমাণ বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পণ্য রফতানি করা সম্ভব হবে। তৈরি পোশাকসহ অন্যান্য পণ্য সরাসরি রফতানিতে রাশিয়ান সরকারের আন্তরিক সহযোগিতা প্রয়োজন বলে জানান তিনি।

এ সময় রাষ্ট্রদূত জানান, রাশিয়া বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ বৃদ্ধি করতে আগ্রহী। বাংলাদেশকে রাশিয়া বিশেষ গুরুত্ব দিয়ে থাকে। বাংলাদেশের পণ্যের অনেক চাহিদা রয়েছে রাশিয়ায়। চলমান বাণিজ্য বাধা দূর হলে উভয় দেশের বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ বাড়বে। রাশিয়া সরকার চলমান সমস্যাগুলো দূর করতে আন্তরিক। রাশিয়া বাংলাদেশের উন্নয়নে সহযোগী হতে চায়।

মতবিনিময়কালে বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী বলেন, প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনার নেতৃত্বে বাংলাদেশ দ্রুতগতিতে এগিয়ে যাচ্ছে। বাংলাদেশ এখন বড় বড় উন্নয়ন প্রকল্প বাস্তবায়ন করছে। বাংলাদেশ এখন উন্নত মানের পণ্য প্রতিযোগিতামূলক মূল্যে সরবরাহ করতে সক্ষম। বিশ্বব্যাপী বাংলাদেশের তৈরি পণ্যের চাহিদা বাড়ছে। রাশিয়ার সহযোগিতায় বাংলাদেশ রাশিয়াসহ ইউরেশিয়ান ইকোনমিক ইউনিয়ন ও সিআইএসভুক্ত অন্যান্য দেশে রফতানি বৃদ্ধি করতে আগ্রহী।

বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের তথ্য অনুযায়ী, গত ২০২০-২১ অর্থবছরে বাংলাদেশ ৬৬ কোটি ৫৩ লাখ ১০ হাজার ডলার মূল্যের পণ্য রাশিয়ায় রফতানি করেছে। একই সময়ে আমদানি করেছে ৪৬ কোটি ৬৭ লাখ ডলার মূল্যের পণ্য।

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/economy/bangladesh/adb-launches-new-partnership-strategy-for-bangladesh-1632232272

ADB launches new partnership strategy for Bangladesh

Published:  September 21, 2021 19:51:13 | Updated:  September 21, 2021 19:54:36

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a new country partnership strategy (CPS) for Bangladesh that aims to boost competitiveness and employment and promote green growth and climate resilience.

Te CPS for 2021-2025 will help Bangladesh realize its aspiration of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2031 through increased public and private investments in the next five years.

It will also support rapid socioeconomic recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, reports UNB citing an ADB press release.

During this period, ADB will increase its lending operations to $10 billion-$12 billion, from $9.6 billion in the past 5 years.

"Sustained growth and appropriate policy measures have helped Bangladesh achieve good development outcomes. Moving forward, the country's industry and export base need diversification," said ADB Director General for South Asia Kenichi Yokoyama.

"Diversification in manufacturing and export items, such as agricultural products, information and communication technology, light engineering, and pharmaceuticals, together with increased competitiveness and access to new markets, will be critical in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, sustaining rapid economic growth, and generating substantial employment."

ADB will further expand its private sector operations in Bangladesh and continue to leverage a high level of cofinancing with other development partners. Improving the banking sector, the ease of doing business, business environment, and investment climate will help accelerate private sector development and promote economic diversification.

The CPS also envisages enhancing ADB operations to support climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk management to address the country's high vulnerability to climate events and other natural disasters, in line with the Paris Agreement.

A holistic approach to integrating climate change will be applied to all operations while expanding programmes to directly address climate change impacts through integrated management of water, river, and coastal areas.

Efforts to reduce poverty will continue. Specific actions to reduce inequality and poverty include effective implementation of the government's social protection programme, more equitable rural and regional development, investments in low-cost housing and basic services including quality health and education for the poor. In the next 5 years, Bangladesh aims to reduce poverty from 20.5 per cent to 15.6 per cent and extreme poverty from 10.5 per cent to 7.4 per cent of its population.

The new ADB strategy was prepared in close coordination with the government to support the implementation of its Eighth Five-Year Plan, which aims to address the need for higher resource mobilisation, diversification of manufacturing and exports, and sustainable urbanisation.

ADB has supported Bangladesh's response against the COVID-19 pandemic with a $940 million loan for vaccine procurement under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility and other initiatives.

The government has requested $1.0 billion programmatic budget support for economic resilience and health and social protection, of which $250 million has been provided and the remainder is under preparation for approval in 2021-2023, said the ADB.

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https://bonikbarta.net/home/news_description/275273/ভারতে-বিনিয়োগে-আগ্রহ-দেখাচ্ছেন-বাংলাদেশীরা

ভারতে বিনিয়োগে আগ্রহ দেখাচ্ছেন বাংলাদেশীরা

নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদক

সেপ্টেম্বর ২২, ২০২১

বিদেশের মাটিতে বাংলাদেশীদের বিনিয়োগের পথকে মসৃণ করতে চূড়ান্ত হওয়ার অপেক্ষায় আছে একটি নীতিমালা। যদিও বাংলাদেশী উদ্যোক্তাদের বিদেশে বিনিয়োগের আগ্রহ পুরনো। এরই মধ্যে যা বাস্তবায়ন হয়েছে আফ্রিকার একাধিক দেশসহ মালয়েশিয়া ও ভারতে। সম্প্রতি ভারতে আবারো বাংলাদেশীদের বিনিয়োগ আগ্রহ প্রকাশ পেয়েছে। দেশটির শিল্প ও অভ্যন্তরীণ বাণিজ্য প্রচারণাবিষয়ক বিভাগ ডিপার্টমেন্ট ফর প্রমোশন অব ইন্ডাস্ট্রি অ্যান্ড ইন্টারনাল ট্রেড (ডিপিআইআইটি) সূত্রে এ তথ্য জানা গেছে।

ডিপিআইআইটির বরাতে ভারতীয় গণমাধ্যমে প্রকাশিত খবরে দেখা গেছে, সম্প্রতি ভারতের সঙ্গে স্থলসীমানা রয়েছে এমন দেশ থেকে বিনিয়োগ প্রস্তাব পাওয়া গেছে, যার অধিকাংশই চীনের। এছাড়া কিছু বিনিয়োগ প্রস্তাব গিয়েছে নেপাল, ভুটান ও বাংলাদেশ থেকেও। এ দেশগুলোর প্রস্তাবিত বিনিয়োগের খাতগুলো হলো ভারী যন্ত্র উৎপাদন, অটোমোবাইল, অটো কম্পোনেন্টস, কম্পিউটার সফটওয়্যার ও হার্ডওয়্যার, বাণিজ্য, ই-কমার্স, হালকা প্রকৌশল ও ইলেকট্রিক্যাল।

গত বছর এপ্রিলে ভারত সরকারের ঘোষণা অনুযায়ী স্থলসীমানা থাকা দেশগুলো থেকে আসা বিনিয়োগে অনুমোদন নেয়া বাধ্যতামূলক। ওই ঘোষণার পর থেকে চলতি বছরের জুন পর্যন্ত বিভিন্ন খাতে ৪০টিরও বেশি প্রস্তাব জমা পড়েছে, যা যাচাই-বাছাইয়ে একটি আন্তঃমন্ত্রণালয় কমিটি গঠন করা হয়েছে। প্রস্তাবিত খাতগুলোতে ভারতীয় কোম্পানির বিদ্যমান বিনিয়োগ রয়েছে। উল্লেখ্য, চলতি বছর এপ্রিল থেকে জুন পর্যন্ত ১৭ দশমিক ৬ বিলিয়ন ডলারের প্রত্যক্ষ বিদেশী বিনিয়োগ (এফডিআই) পেয়েছে ভারত।

ভারতীয় গণমাধ্যমে প্রচারিত দেশটিতে বাংলাদেশীদের বিনিয়োগ প্রস্তাবের খবর অস্বাভাবিক কোনো ঘটনা নয় বলে মত প্রকাশ করছেন বাংলাদেশের শিল্প ও বিনিয়োগসংশ্লিষ্টরা। তাদের মতে, এখন পর্যন্ত ভারতে বাংলাদেশীদের বিনিয়োগের মধ্যে উল্লেখযোগ্য প্রতিষ্ঠান প্রাণ-আরএফএল গ্রুপ। আর এ প্রতিষ্ঠানটির বিনিয়োগ সফলতা অনেক উদ্যোক্তাকেই ভারতে বিনিয়োগের দিকে ধাবিত করছে। সরকারি পর্যায় থেকে দ্বিপক্ষীয় বিনিয়োগের বিষয়টিকে গুরুত্ব দেয়া হচ্ছে। যার প্রতিফলন হিসেবেই বিনিয়োগ প্রস্তাবের খবর পাওয়া যাচ্ছে।

ইন্ডিয়া-বাংলাদেশ চেম্বার অব কমার্স অ্যান্ড ইন্ডাস্ট্রির সভাপতি আবদুল মাতলুব আহমাদ এ বিষয়ে বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, ভারতে প্রাণের সফলতা খাদ্য প্রক্রিয়াজাত খাতের অনেক উদ্যোক্তার দৃষ্টি আকর্ষণ করেছে। তারা আগ্রহ প্রকাশ করছে ভারতে বিনিয়োগে। এছাড়া বস্ত্র খাতের উদ্যোক্তাদের আগ্রহ আরো আগে থেকেই ছিল। এখনো অনেক আগ্রহী আছে। ভারতের বাজার বাংলাদেশের চেয়ে অনেক বড়। এ বিষয়টিই বিনিয়োগকারীদের আকর্ষণের মূল। বিশেষ করে যারা খাদ্যপণ্য প্রক্রিয়াজাত করার সঙ্গে জড়িত তাদের আগ্রহ বেশি। ধারণা করছি, নতুন বিনিয়োগ প্রস্তাবও এ খাতেরই কোনো প্রতিষ্ঠানের। বাংলাদেশ-ভারত উভয় দেশের সরকারই একে অপরের দেশে বিনিয়োগের বিষয়টি ইতিবাচক মানসিকতা ধারণ করছে। ফলে ব্যবসায়ীরাও আগ্রহ প্রকাশ করছেন।

এর আগে ২০১৮ সালে বাংলাদেশে নিযুক্ত তত্কালীন ভারতীয় হাইকমিশনার হর্ষ বর্ধন শ্রিংলা ঢাকায় আয়োজিত এক অনুষ্ঠানে অংশ নেন। সেখানে দেয়া বক্তব্যে তিনি বলেন, ভারতে বিশেষ করে উত্তর-পূর্ব রাজ্যগুলোতে বাংলাদেশী খাদ্যপণ্যের চাহিদা ক্রমাগতভাবে বাড়ছে। ভারতের বাজারে বাংলাদেশী খাদ্য রফতানির সুযোগও বাড়ছে। বাংলাদেশী কিছু শিল্প-কারখানাও ভারতে গড়ে উঠেছে। দেশটিতে খাদ্যপণ্যের বড় বাজার থাকায় এ খাতে দ্বিপক্ষীয় বিনিয়োগের বড় সুযোগ রয়েছে বলেও জানিয়েছিলেন তিনি।

২০১৫ সালে বাংলাদেশের পোশাক শিল্প মালিকদের সংগঠন বিজিএমইএর পক্ষ থেকে ভারতে রিটেইল স্টোর স্থাপনের প্রস্তাব দেয়া হয়েছিল। তবে তাদের শর্ত পূরণ না হওয়ার কারণে ওই প্রস্তাব আর আলোর মুখ দেখেনি।

জানতে চাইলে বিজিএমইএ সহসভাপতি শহিদউল্লাহ আজিম বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, ওই প্রস্তাব নিয়ে আর এগোনো যায়নি। কারণ আমরা ভারতের বাজারে পণ্য সরবরাহের একটি সুনির্দিষ্ট মাত্রা নির্ধারণ করেছিলাম। আর তাতে সম্মতি পাওয়া যায়নি বলে ওই প্রস্তাব নিয়ে আর অগ্রসর হইনি।

দেশী উদ্যোক্তাদের বিদেশে বিনিয়োগের পথ উন্মুক্ত করে দিতে নতুন নীতিমালা করছে সরকার। এজন্য ‘বহির্বিশ্বে বাংলাদেশী বিনিয়োগ নীতিমালা ২০২১’ শিরোনামে একটি খসড়াও এরই মধ্যে প্রণয়ন করা হয়েছে। খসড়াটি এখন চূড়ান্ত মতামত গ্রহণের পর্যায়ে রয়েছে। দেশের ব্যক্তি খাতের প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর বিদেশে বিনিয়োগের আগ্রহ বেশ পুরনো। সরকারের অনুমোদনের ভিত্তিতে এরই মধ্যে বেশকিছু কোম্পানি বহির্বিশ্বে বিনিয়োগ করেছে। বর্তমানে বেশ কয়েকটি দেশে বাংলাদেশী উদ্যোক্তাদের বিনিয়োগ রয়েছে। তবে এসব অনুমোদনের প্রতিটিই দেয়া হয়েছে কেস টু কেস ভিত্তিতে। বর্তমানে গোটা বিষয়টিকে সাধারণ একটি কাঠামোর আওতায় নিয়ে আসতে নীতিমালা প্রণয়নের উদ্যোগ নিয়েছে বাংলাদেশ বিনিয়োগ উন্নয়ন কর্তৃপক্ষ (বিডা)।

খসড়া নীতিমালায় বিদেশে বিনিয়োগের ন্যূনতম আর্থিক যোগ্যতা নির্ধারণ করে দেয়া হয়েছে। এতে বলা হয়েছে, টানা পাঁচ বছরের নিরীক্ষিত হিসাব বিবরণী অনুযায়ী কোম্পানির নিট মূলধন হতে হবে অন্তত ৫০ লাখ ডলারের সমপরিমাণ। আর্থিক যোগ্যতার এ মাপকাঠি পূরণ না হলে বিদেশে বিনিয়োগ করা যাবে না।

নীতিমালায় আবেদনকারী কোম্পানির আর্থিক যোগ্যতা হিসেবে ৫০ লাখ ডলারের সমপরিমাণ নিট মূলধনের বাধ্যবাধকতা রাখা হলেও ক্ষুদ্র ও মাঝারি শিল্পপ্রতিষ্ঠানকে ছাড় দেয়া হয়েছে। এসব প্রতিষ্ঠানের ক্ষেত্রে ব্যাংক সচ্ছলতা সনদের ভিত্তিতে অনুমোদন দেয়ার বিষয়টি বিবেচনা করা যেতে পারে বলে খসড়ায় উল্লেখ করা হয়েছে। তবে বিদেশে বিনিয়োগে ইচ্ছুক প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর সংশ্লিষ্ট খাতে কমপক্ষে তিন বছরের ব্যবসা বা উৎপাদনের অভিজ্ঞতা থাকতে হবে।

এছাড়া প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোকে কর বিবরণী অনুযায়ী কমপক্ষে দুই বছর লাভজনক হতে হবে বলে নীতিমালায় উল্লেখ করা হয়েছে। তবে তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি খাতের উদ্যোক্তাদের ক্ষেত্রে যৌক্তিক ব্যাখ্যার পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে বিষয়টি শিথিল করার সুযোগ রয়েছে। বাংলাদেশী বিনিয়োগকারী প্রতিষ্ঠান গন্তব্য দেশের বিধিবিধান মেনে সেখানকার পুঁজিবাজারেও তালিকাভুক্ত হতে পারবে বলে খসড়ায় উল্লেখ রয়েছে।

বিদেশে বিনিয়োগের ভিত্তিতে গড়ে তোলা প্রতিষ্ঠান প্রয়োজনে দেশে মূল প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে ঋণ নিতে পারবে। এছাড়া দেশে বা বিনিয়োগ গন্তব্যে অবস্থিত ব্যাংক কিংবা আর্থিক প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকেও প্রয়োজনে ঋণ নেয়া যাবে। এক্ষেত্রে প্রাথমিকভাবে ঋণ ও মূলধনের অনুপাত হতে হবে ৭০: ৩০। বিদেশে বিনিয়োগকৃত প্রকল্পে অর্থায়নের বিপরীতে দেশের করপোরেট বা ব্যক্তিগত অথবা অন্য কোনো স্থাবর সম্পত্তির গ্যারান্টি ব্যবহার করা যাবে।

নীতিমালায় বলা হয়েছে, অনেক বেসরকারি প্রতিষ্ঠান বিদেশে বিনিয়োগে আগ্রহী। তবে ভুল পদ্ধতি ও খাতে বিনিয়োগ করা হলে তা দেশে বৈদেশিক মুদ্রার ক্ষতি বা অপচয়ের কারণ হতে পারে। এমনকি সামগ্রিক অর্থনীতিতেও এর ক্ষতিকর প্রভাব পড়তে পারে। নীতিমালার চলতি হিসাব লেনদেন-সংক্রান্ত পদ্ধতিগত বিষয়গুলো নিয়ন্ত্রণ হবে ফরেন এক্সচেঞ্জ রেগুলেশন অ্যাক্ট ১৯৪৭ ও মূলধনি হিসাবে লেনদেন বিধিমালা ২০২১-এর মাধ্যমে।

তবে নীতিমালা প্রণয়ের আগেই অনুমোদন নিয়ে ভারতে বিনিয়োগ করেছে প্রাণ-আরএফএল গ্রুপ। ভারতের সেভেন সিস্টার্স অঞ্চলে গ্রুপটির রফতানির একটি বড় বাজার রয়েছে। এ বাজার আরো সম্প্রসারণের সুযোগ রয়েছে। ভারতের কাস্টমস ও বিভিন্ন নিয়ন্ত্রণ কর্তৃপক্ষের আরোপকৃত বিভিন্ন নন-ট্যারিফ ব্যারিয়ারের কারণে বাংলাদেশ থেকে ভারতে পণ্য রফতানি কার্যক্রম বিভিন্নভাবে ব্যাহত হচ্ছে। এছাড়া ভারতের সীমান্তবর্তী এলাকায় রফতানীকৃত খাদ্যপণ্যের ল্যাবরেটরি টেস্ট ও পণ্য পরিবহনের জন্য আনলোড-রিলোডিংয়ের কাজেও অনেক সময় ব্যয় হয়। এজন্য প্রাণ ফুডস লিমিটেড তাদের স্বল্পায়ু পণ্য যেমন রুটি, কেক ইত্যাদি ভারতে রফতানি করতে পারছে না।

এ প্রেক্ষাপটে প্রতিষ্ঠানটি এখন ভারতে একটি সাবসিডিয়ারি কোম্পানি স্থাপনের মাধ্যমে স্বল্পায়ু পণ্য উৎপাদনের উদ্যোগ নিয়েছে। এজন্য পণ্যগুলোর আংশিক প্রস্তুতকৃত কাঁচামাল ভারতে রফতানি করা হবে। এরপর সেখানে ওই কাঁচামাল প্রক্রিয়াজাত করে খাদ্যপণ্য তৈরি করা হবে। এসব পণ্য ভারতের বাজারেই ‘মেড ইন ইন্ডিয়া’ স্লোগানসহ বাজারজাত করা যাবে। প্রতিষ্ঠানটির দাবি, প্রস্তাবিত সাবসিডিয়ারি প্রতিষ্ঠা করা গেলে এর মাধ্যমে অশুল্ক বাধার সমস্যা থেকে পরিত্রাণের পাশাপাশি ভারতে বাংলাদেশীদের কর্মসংস্থানের সুযোগ সৃষ্টি হবে। এজন্য কোম্পানিটির রফতানি প্রত্যাবাসন কোটার (ইআরকিউ) হিসাব থেকে ২০ লাখ ৬২ হাজার ৬৬৫ ডলার মূলধন হিসেবে বিনিয়োগের মাধ্যমে ভারতে পিনাকেল ফোরএস কোম্পানি লিমিটেড নামে একটি সাবসিডিয়ারি কোম্পানি স্থাপনের অনুমতি চাওয়া হয়েছে। বাংলাদেশী মুদ্রায় এ বিনিয়োগের পরিমাণ দাঁড়ায় ১৭ কোটি ৪৯ লাখ ১৩ হাজার ৯৯২ টাকা।

ডিপিআইআইটি পরিসংখ্যান বলছে, ২০০০ থেকে ২০২১ সালের জুন পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশ থেকে মাত্র ৮০ হাজার ডলারের এফডিআই পেয়েছে ভারত। এদিকে বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের পরিসংখ্যান অনুযায়ী, প্রত্যক্ষ বিদেশী বিনিয়োগের পুঞ্জীভূত (এফডিআই স্টক) হিসাব বিবেচনায় বাংলাদেশের দশম শীর্ষ বিদেশী বিনিয়োগকারী দেশ ভারত। ২০২০ সালের ডিসেম্বর পর্যন্ত ভারতের এফডিআই স্টকের পরিমাণ ছিল বাংলাদেশে ৬৭ কোটি ডলারের কিছু বেশি।

 

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Abul Kashem & Reyad Hossain

01 October, 2021, 10:10 pm

Last modified: 02 October, 2021, 01:11 pm

Govt mulls FTAs with China, India to face post-LDC challenges

The government is considering FTAs as a tool to maintain the competitiveness in the export market in the long run

pros_and_cons_of_ftas_with_china_india_g

 

The government is considering free trade agreements (FTAs) with China and India as part of its endeavour to strengthen ties with major trading partners to face post-LDC graduation challenges.

According to sources at the commerce ministry, China has already expressed its interest to sign a FTA with Bangladesh. On the other hand, the government has moved forward on a feasibility study for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) with neighbouring India.

The Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) is conducting the feasibility study.

Given the large disproportionality in trade, signing FTAs with these two top import sources, however, will cause the government to lose a huge amount of tariff revenue and may affect the growth of local industries by exposing them to stiff competition with foreign companies. – which is also being considered by the government.

According to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the country's tariff revenue from imported goods was Tk77,150 crore in the 2020-21 fiscal year and the lion's share of it came from goods imported from China and India. If Bangladesh goes into FTAs with these two countries, it will have to lose a huge amount of revenue.

In view of this, a section of economists recommend that the government first sign FTAs with countries with which Bangladesh has a positive trade balance.

Nonetheless, the government is considering FTAs as a tool to maintain the competitiveness in the export market in the long run.

According to sources, the Ministry of Commerce has prepared a list of countries and trade blocs – with which Bangladesh may sign FTAs – based on its own analysis and opinions of various departments concerned.

On 9 September this year, a meeting of the Sub-Committee on Preferential Market Access and Trade Agreement – one of the several sub-committees formed by the Prime Minister's Office to prepare for the possible post-LDC graduation challenges – discussed the list, that include Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Asean, Canada, the United States, the Eurasian Economic Union, and Mercosur, a South American trade bloc – apart from India and China.

Russia has also proposed to Bangladesh to sign a protocol on trade cooperation, which is currently being reviewed by the commerce ministry.

Md Hafizur Rahman, director general (DG) of the WTO Cell of the commerce ministry, told The Business Standard that Bangladesh has to sign FTAs with its trading partners in the interest of retaining market access after its graduation from the LDC status.

Mentioning that feasibility studies are being done on Cepa with India and FTA with China, he said whether the agreements will benefit Bangladesh will be understood once the studies are over.

Thrust on FTAs for future market access

Bangladesh will lose duty-free access to various export destinations, including Europe, once it comes out of the LDC status. Besides, obtaining tariff benefits under the GSP Plus scheme in the European market is also uncertain as the country is required to comply with 27 international conventions to qualify for the facility.

To face this challenge, the government has been showing an urgency to sign FTAs with its major trading partners for the last few years. Businesses also have been demanding such agreements for a long time. Besides, economists have long been advocating FTAs.

Apart from considering FTAs, the government is making efforts to make sure preferential market access can be availed for extended times, sources at the commerce ministry said, adding the Ministry of Labor is in the process of amending labour laws in accordance with the guidelines of the European Union and the International Labour Organisation to this end.

This issue also came up for discussion at the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Preferential Market Access and Trade Agreement, the sources added.

The need for policy reform

In order to protect local industries or discourage the import of certain goods, Bangladesh levies supplementary duties, regulatory duties and other duties in addition to import duties.

WTO guidelines, however, urge gradual reduction in the tariff rates.

But, the last few years have not seen significant progress in this respect. As a result, no specific plan is evident as to how the NBR will cope with the revenue losses, if FTAs are signed with countries like China and India abruptly.

Syed Golam Kibria, member of the NBR, told TBS, "We have to move for FTAs in the long run but this requires preparation. In order to avoid the shock of a sudden drop in revenue, tariff rates will have to be reduced gradually within 2026. The revenue loss will have to be met by increasing the collection of income tax and VAT."

On the other hand, economists are emphasising policy reform before signing FTAs.

International trade analyst Dr Mostafa Abid Khan told TBS that once Bangladesh becomes a developing country, it will no longer get unilateral benefits.

After its LDC-graduation, Bangladesh will have to offer some benefit to a country if it wants some benefit from that country, he mentioned, adding, "But the kind of trade- or investment-friendly policy needed for overall success of FTAs has not yet been framed."

Stressing the need for enriching the country's export basket, he said whether signing FTAs hurriedly will be beneficial for Bangladesh is questionable as it has a limited number of export items.

Expressing similar views, Abul Kasem Khan, former president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and incumbent chairman of the Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), said, "We need to reform existing policies. It is necessary to make sure policies framed to implement FTAs do not hamper trade and commerce.

According to the Bangladesh Bank and the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh exported $38.75 billion worth of goods to the world market in FY21, which was 15.10% higher compared to a year ago. On the other hand the country's imports in FY21 stood at $65.59 billion, marking a 19.93% year-on-year growth.

Bangladesh imported $11.53 billion worth of goods from China in FY20, while its exports to the Chinese market that year amounted to merely $600 million.

At the same time, the country's imports from India stood at $8.2 billion and exports to the country amounted to $1.26 billion in FY20.

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https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2021/10/24/envoy-sees-potentials-for-future-australia-bangladesh-bilateral-trade

Envoy sees potentials for future Australia-Bangladesh bilateral trade

 UNB

 Published at 05:07 pm October 24th, 2021

'Conclusion of the Australia-Bangladesh TIFA was timely and could provide the necessary boost towards a more significant economic relationship'

Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer has said his country "wants to work energetically" to enhance trade and investment with Bangladesh, noting that the future is “golden” for the two countries to collaborate in broader areas and take the ties to new heights.

“If you ask me for my prognosis for the future of Bangladesh-Australia relations - I say again, the future is golden,” he said, highlighting the opportunities that the recently signed Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) offer.

The High Commissioner, however, said he does not deny that there are significant challenges globally that they need to be met, taking advantage of that golden future and working together in a way that helps meet those challenges “constructively” and supports welfare of the countries.

The Australian envoy made the remarks while delivering his keynote speech at a virtual dialogue titled “Bangladesh-Australia Relations: Prognosis for the Future”.

Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue as part of its ongoing Ambassadors' Lecture Series.

The opening remarks were delivered by Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan.

The session was chaired by Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, scholar-diplomat and former adviser on foreign affairs of the caretaker government.

Former Foreign Secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Distinguished Fellow at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Professor at International Relations Department of Dhaka University Imtiaz Ahmed, Brig Gen (retd) Shahedul Anam Khan and Honorary Advisor Emeritus, Cosmos Foundation Ambassador (retd) Tariq A Karim comprised the panel of discussants. 

Enayetullah Khan said the conclusion of the Australia-Bangladesh TIFA on September 15 was timely and could provide the necessary boost towards a more significant economic relationship.

While TIFAs are seen as mostly symbolic, Khan said, they do signal an injection of commitment and ambition, which is what the next phase of the relationship between Bangladesh and Australia actually needs.

Iftekhar Chowdhury shared how the focus of aid at that time shifted to trade and commerce which seem to have grown “exponentially” leading to the signing of TIFA.

“We’re also looking for expanded collaboration in the whole range of activities -- e-commerce, infrastructure, power and energy, water, sanitation, hygiene; and tapping potential in the blue economy – our maritime resources,” he said, noting that the two countries will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations next year.
 High Commissioner Bruer said with the right conditions, Australian investors will be keen to explore opportunities in Bangladesh.

“I’m keen to increase investment in both directions. I see that as being important to the development of a more complete, comprehensive commercial relationship and hope we’ll be able to use the TIFA as a platform to see what we can to boost two-way investment,” he said.

The Australian envoy said there is a shared interest in deepening and widening trade and investment opportunities and he thinks the prospects of doing so are bright.

“We see further opportunities to enhance trade and investment through bilateral cooperation in energy and minerals, including renewable energy; skills development; and information and communication technology services,” said the Australian envoy.

Under the TIFA, he said, they look forward to exploring how governments can work together to boost the recovery of the private sector and lead growth in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The High Commissioner said in infrastructure, technology-driven solutions in fields such as road and rail management and logistics Australia can support Bangladesh’s ambitious infrastructure development plans.

The envoy said Australia has the potential to be a major supplier of LNG and other energy resources, including renewable energy to fuel Bangladesh’s growth.

Debapriya Bhattacharya said Bangladesh-Australia relationship is a classic case of "suboptimal utilization" and it remains “very underutilized, underappreciated, understated and less understood” relationship in the current context.

The economist said Bangladesh’s development ambitions in the coming days are getting out of the LDC group and it would like to retain some of the privileges for smooth and sustainable development in the post LDC phase.

He said Australia-Bangladesh last September signed TIFA which is a great progress.

“But as you know TIFA by itself does not ensure that flows will happen. It is a platform to discuss problems at certain points. The modern approach to all the states is the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).”

The economist said the Indo-Pacific stability and sustainability approach of Australia would fit in very well in terms of investing in Bangladesh. “Our development ambitions are very much aligned with the political strategic approach which Australia was to perform and this is global which will fit into the global strategy.

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https://www.banglanews24.com/english/banglanews-special/news/bd/91999.details

Haznah Md Hashim tells Banglanews

My ultimate aim is Free Trade Agreement

Touhidur Rahman, Diplomatic Correspondent | banglanews24.com

Update: 2021-10-24 15:44:52

 

1635068691.Amb-pix1.jpg

My ultimate aim is for the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, so that the established trade relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh could even be stronger without unnecessary issues on trade barriers.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim was telling all these to Banglanews24.com in an interview.

Following is the detail interview of the envoy: 

Banglanews: Malaysia was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladesh - Malaysia enjoy friendly relation. Two countries relations growing up and reached new height past 50 years, what is your observation?

Haznah Md Hashim: Malaysia and Bangladesh have had a very close bilateral relations in the past 50 years. Not just at the government-to-government level, but that at the people-to-people as well. As you have rightly mentioned, Malaysia was among the first countries that had recognised an independent and sovereign Bangladesh back in 1971. Since then, relations have grown by leaps and bounds, especially in the past decade. This is rightly seen in our bilateral trade growth.

Furthermore, the relations between both countries under the leadership of both Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob continue to remain high. My hope is that this positive relations would continue to progress, especially as we move towards celebrating the 50 years anniversary of Malaysia-Bangladesh relations. 

Banglanews: Bangladesh – Malaysia, how can more Increase bilateral trade and investment.

Haznah Md Hashim: Trade between Malaysia and Bangladesh has always been good. I am pleased with the bilateral trade performance with Bangladesh that has generally been on a positive trend. We strongly believe that there is ample scope for both countries to expand trade and investment cooperation.

Bangladesh is currently Malaysia’s 30th largest trading partner, and ranked second among South Asian nations. Bangladesh is also Malaysia’s 20th  largest export destination, signifying the growing importance of Bangladesh as a soaring economy. In the pre pandemic COVID-19 era of 2019, trade between Malaysia and Bangladesh was recorded at around USD2.6 billion, an increase from the previous year’s record of USD 2.4 billion.

Having said that, Bangladesh continues to attract investments from Malaysia. Therefore, we hope that Bangladesh would continue to provide a conducive environment and facilitate Malaysian investors to participate in its economic activities.

This does not mean that the Malaysian investors are not facing any challenges here. In fact, our major investors are facing some major challenges but I am fully confident that the Government of Bangladesh under the distinguished leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would be able to extend some kind of assistance for the sake of the sustainability of Malaysian investors in Bangladesh, particularly the Malaysian Government-Link Companies (GLC).

Likewise, we would also like to encourage major Bangladeshi companies to invest in Malaysia. Companies from Bangladesh wanting to expand their businesses in the ASEAN region could fully utilise Malaysia as the gateway since we are strategically located with easy access to other ASEAN Member States.

I am also particularly looking forward to the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh towards boosting the trade relations between our two countries.

Banglanews: Malaysia is a popular tourist destination for Bangladeshi, when can be open Malaysian tourist visa for Bangladeshi citizens?

Haznah Md Hashim:
Malaysia values the arrival of genuine Bangladeshi tourists. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, an estimated of 180,000 Bangladeshi tourists made Malaysia their preferred holiday destinations. We therefore sincerely hope that once the pandemic is over, genuine tourists would make Malaysia their destination of choice. Particularly for medical tourism as Malaysian healthcare is among the world’s best at an affordable price. Indeed, Malaysia has won the “Health and Medical Tourism: Destination of the Year” title for the fourth time at the Medical Tourism Award ceremony in London on 23 September 2020.

Even now, the Malaysian Government has already lifted the entry restriction, on a case-by-case basis effective 20 September 2021 for certain categories of fully vaccinated travellers, including for medical related treatments in Malaysia, upon obtaining a prior entry approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia through dedicated portals of MyTravelPass / MyEntry along with the fulfilment of certain other criteria, including a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result and a valid Malaysian visa.

As Malaysia is still in the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, international borders for tourism are still closed for now. Malaysia’s rapid vaccination might stir hope for eventual tourism revival. 

Banglanews: Bangladesh faces Rohingya problem, as an ASEAN forum stronger member how can Malaysia more cooperate in this issues?

Haznah Md Hashim: Malaysia has always believed that addressing the root causes of the Rohingya crisis remains important in pursuing a resolution to the crisis. 

In playing its role as one of the founding members of ASEAN, Malaysia had always urged Myanmar to continue its efforts in delivering its commitment towards ensuring effective repatriation and human rights protection of the returnees. 

Moreover, as a country directly impacted by the Rakhine State crisis, and a newly elected Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Malaysia will continue to support the ongoing efforts towards a safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of displaced Rohingya to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

In this context, Malaysia welcomes the continued support from the international community towards such repatriation. As the Rohingya issue definitely needs some attention, Malaysia believes that such continued international support will eventually bring some positive impact to this issue.

Banglanews: Bangladesh Government wanted export worker to Malaysia. In this regard have you any update Bangladesh - Malaysia (G to G plus) MOU.

Haznah Md Hashim: This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is still currently being negotiated between Malaysia and Bangladesh. Let’s hope for an eventual positive outcome which would be able to serve the interests of both our nations.

Banglanews: Due to covid lockdown Many stranded Bangladeshi workers and students unable return to Malaysia, have you any initiative to take back them to Malaysia.

Haznah Md Hashim:
I would like to first emphasise that Malaysia appreciates the contribution made by Bangladeshi workers who are working legally in Malaysia. Those dedicated Bangladeshi workers have generated positive productivity effects in the emerging economy of Malaysia. 

As stated earlier, the Malaysian Government has already lifted the entry restriction, on a case-by-case basis effective 20 September 2021 for certain categories of fully vaccinated travellers, and this would include any long term pass holders and students, upon obtaining a prior entry approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia through dedicated portals of MyTravelPass / MyEntry along with the fulfilment of certain other criteria, including a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result, and a valid Malaysian visa.

Having stated that, I have to emphasise further that the recruitment of foreign workers are resulted from a demand which is derived from the local industries. As Malaysia is transforming towards a high-income nation, Malaysia will eventually be moving away from labour-oriented towards more high-skilled job opportunities. This was clearly highlighted recently by my Prime Minister in tabling the Twelve Malaysia Plan, which is Malaysia’s development roadmap for the next five years. 

Banglanews: As a High Commissioner to Bangladesh which sectors you will be emphasis for two countries relations.

Haznah Md Hashim: I am lucky to get this ambassadorial assignment at a country who is already in close relations with Malaysia. As such, apart from further strengthening and elevating the existing warm and cordial relations between the two countries, I envisage the need to actively pursuing economic diplomacy. 

This is so as Bangladesh is now moving into a middle-income country and is a trade driven country that heavily depends on Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). I would therefore like to see an increase in trade between both countries, with the eventual hope of reaching at least the pre-pandemic figures. I am confident that with good policies and instruments, trade and investment will continue to boom and flourish. 

My ultimate aim is for the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, so that the established trade relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh could even be stronger without unnecessary issues on trade barriers. In this context, I wish to reiterate that Malaysia has already concluded 16 FTA since 1993, of which the latest one was concluded during the midst if the COVID-19 pandemic. Real-life examples of positive effects of FTA could always be seen in Malaysia of which it has contributed towards building Malaysia’s economic sustainability. Malaysia has now become a destination of choice to many global multi-nationals companies, making the country a hub for export by capitalising on the existing bilateral or multilateral FTA.

As Malaysia and Bangladesh celebrate 50 years of the establishment of the diplomatic relations, I am certain that the relations between our two brotherly countries will continue to grow and as such, I look forward to celebrating this auspicious milestone for the two great nations. 

Banglanews: Thank you.
Haznah Md Hashim: Thank you, too.

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https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/dhaka-clarifies-stance-about-indias-new-customs-rules-bangladeshi-export-323530

TBS Report

31 October, 2021, 10:55 pm

Last modified: 01 November, 2021, 10:26 am

Dhaka clarifies stance about India’s new customs rules on Bangladeshi export

Bangladesh again says the rules contradict regional trade agreements

 

Dhaka has requested New Delhi not to impose its new customs rules on Bangladeshi exports, rather to comply with regional agreements for bilateral trade.

On 28 October this year, the commerce ministry sent a letter in this regard to India as per Delhi's request at a secretary-level meeting in March this year to "clarify the stance officially".

"In that letter, we have clarified how the new rules contradict the regional trade agreements and will hurt Bangladeshi exports to India," a commerce ministry official who is privy with the matter told The Business Standard Sunday.

"There are no reasons that support the customs rules to be effective on Bangladeshi exports though India defends the enforcement, terming Bangladesh as one of its Most Favoured Nations. Bangladesh does not enjoy duty-free market access to India under any bilateral trade deal, rather the facility comes as part of regional trade agreements," the official said in Dhaka's arguments.

Bangladesh, as a least developed country, gets duty-free facilities for all exports to India, except for 25 liquor and tobacco goods. The facilities come as part of agreements including the Saarc Preferential Trading Arrangement (Sapta), the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta), and the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (Apta).

Under these agreements, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) issues and verifies certificates of origin for products exported to India. It also assures that the rules of origin of the products are being adhered to.

But as per India's new customs rules that came into force on 21 September last year, the power of verification rests with India's customs officials. They will decide whether or not to grant duty-free facilities by collecting information about the goods in question from Bangladeshi exporters (via importers in India).         

In the recent letter, the commerce ministry official said India has been requested to follow the trade provisions including the rule of origin stipulated in the regional agreements.               

"Bangladesh expects a written assurance from neighbouring India that regional trade agreements will override if any provision of the new customs rules contradicts the multilateral deals," added the official.       

After the issuance of India's Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules 2020 in September last year, Dhaka sent a letter to Delhi in October last year requesting not to enforce it on Bangladeshi products.  

As the request was not acted upon, Dhaka sent a diplomatic note to Delhi in December last year with the same request. But the request too did not meet with any response.   

At a secretary-level meeting between the two neighbours in Dhaka in March this year, Dhaka again raised the issue. India then recommended clarifying Bangladesh's stance officially.    

The commerce ministry official said, "We have requested India multiple times but to no avail. The country has enforced the new customs rules completely. However, Bangladeshi businessmen so far did not complain to the ministry over any newly emerged export issue."  

According to the Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh's import from India was around $5.79 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal year. On the other hand, Dhaka's export to Delhi was $1.26 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

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https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade-market/dcci-stresses-direct-connectivity-between-ctg-ranong-sea-ports-1635874911

DCCI stresses direct connectivity between Ctg-Ranong sea ports

Thai ambassador meets DCCI president

 FE DESK |  November 03, 2021 00:00:00

https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/uploads/1635874911.jpg

Thai Ambassador Makawadee Sumitmor (middle) called on DCCI President Rizwan Rahman (left) at the DCCI office in the city on Tuesday. DCCI Vice President Monowar Hossain was also present at the meeting

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman has called for establishing a direct connectivity between Chattogram and Ranong sea ports to increase existing trade volume between Bangladesh and Thailand.

Mr Rahman said this during a meeting with Makawadee Sumitmor, ambassador of Thailand in Dhaka, at the DCCI on Tuesday.

During the meeting, DCCI president said the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Thailand reached US$837.06 million in 2019-20.

Bangladesh's total export to Thailand was only $35.46 million whereas import from Thailand was $801.3 million in 2020.

Export from Bangladesh experienced an upward trend in 2021 as it reached $39 million from $35.46 million in 2020, said Mr Rahman.

In terms of FDI stock in Bangladesh, Thailand is the 15th largest investor in this country but there are huge untapped opportunities for Thai investors, especially in the areas of infrastructure, automotive and light engineering, agro and food processing and tourism and health services, said the DCCI president.

He also requested the ambassador to relocate Thai labour-intensive industries to Bangladesh.

He further said that bilateral FTA or PTA would facilitate increasing trade and investment.

During the meeting, Thai Ambassador Makawadee Sumitmor said that there was still a trade gap between the two friendly countries.

The expansion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral route will boost trade in this region, she said.

The envoy informed that the Thai embassy in Dhaka will organise a roadshow next year to celebrate 50 years of the diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Thailand.

As the Covid cases are relatively coming down, the Thai government is planning to open the country step by step and by next two months it will be possible to open the borders fully, said the ambassador.

DCCI Vice President Monowar Hossain was also present at the meeting.

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https://bonikbarta.net/home/news_description/280115/বাংলাদেশ-পাকিস্তানের-বাণিজ্য-বেড়েছে-৩৮

২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিক

বাংলাদেশ-পাকিস্তানের বাণিজ্য বেড়েছে ৩৮%

নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদক

নভেম্বর ১৩, ২০২১

চলতি ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিক জুলাই থেকে সেপ্টেম্বরে পাকিস্তানের সঙ্গে বাংলাদেশের দ্বিপক্ষীয় বাণিজ্য বেড়েছে ৩৮ দশমিক ১২ শতাংশ। পাকিস্তানের কেন্দ্রীয় ব্যাংকের পরিসংখ্যান বিশ্লেষণে এ তথ্য পাওয়া গেছে।

স্টেট ব্যাংক অব পাকিস্তানের (এসবিপি) পরিসংখ্যান অনুযায়ী, চলতি ২০২১-২২ অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিকে বাংলাদেশে পণ্য ও সেবা রফতানি বাবদ পাকিস্তানের প্রাপ্ত অর্থমূল্য ছিল ১৭ কোটি ৫৩ লাখ ৮৯ হাজার ডলার। একই সময়ে বাংলাদেশ থেকে পণ্য ও সেবা আমদানি বাবদ পাকিস্তানের পরিশোধ করা অর্থমূল্য ছিল ১ কোটি ৭৪ লাখ ৪৬ হাজার ডলার। এ হিসেবে চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিকে দুই দেশের বাণিজ্য হয়েছে ১৯ কোটি ২৮ লাখ ৩৫ হাজার ডলারের। আর পাকিস্তানের বাণিজ্য উদ্বৃত্ত ছিল ১৫ কোটি ৭৯ লাখ ৪৩ হাজার ডলার।

এদিকে ২০২০-২১ অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিক জুলাই থেকে সেপ্টেম্বরে বাংলাদেশে পণ্য ও সেবা রফতানি বাবদ পাকিস্তানের প্রাপ্ত অর্থমূল্য ছিল ১২ কোটি ৭৪ লাখ ৮৭ হাজার ডলার। একই সময়ে বাংলাদেশ থেকে পণ্য ও সেবা আমদানি বাবদ পাকিস্তানের পরিশোধ করা অর্থমূল্য ছিল ১ কোটি ২১ লাখ ১৮ হাজার ডলার। এ হিসেবে চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিকে দুই দেশের বাণিজ্য হয়েছে ১৩ কোটি ৯৬ লাখ ৫ হাজার ডলারের। আর পাকিস্তানের বাণিজ্য উদ্বৃত্ত ছিল ১১ কোটি ৫৩ লাখ ৬৯ হাজার ডলার।

চলতি অর্থবছরের প্রথম প্রান্তিকে বাংলাদেশ-পাকিস্তান বাণিজ্যের সঙ্গে গত অর্থবছরের একই সময়ে হওয়া বাণিজ্য অর্থমূল্যের তুলনামূলক বিশ্লেষণ অনুযায়ী দুই দেশের বাণিজ্য বেড়েছে ৩৮ দশমিক ১২ শতাংশ। একই সময়ে পাকিস্তানের বাণিজ্য উদ্বৃত্ত বা বাংলাদেশের জন্য বাণিজ্য ঘাটতি বেড়েছে ৩৬ দশমিক ৯০ শতাংশ।

বাংলাদেশের বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয় অধীন রপ্তানি উন্নয়ন ব্যুরোর (ইপিবি) তথ্য অনুযায়ী, বাংলাদেশ থেকে পাকিস্তানে রফতানি হওয়া পণ্যের মধ্যে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ হলো ওভেন ও নিট পোশাক, হোমটেক্সটাইল, কৃষিপণ্য, চামড়াজাত পাদুকা, কাঁচাপাট ও পাটজাত পণ্য। এদিকে পাকিস্তানের বাণিজ্য উন্নয়ন কর্তৃপক্ষের তথ্য অনুযায়ী, পাকিস্তান থেকে বাংলাদেশ যেসব পণ্য বেশি আমদানি করে তার মধ্যে আছে তুলা, সুতা, কাপড়, গম, কেমিক্যাল, প্লাস্টিক উপকরণ, ফল, চামড়া, মূলধনি যন্ত্রপাতি, বৈদ্যুতিক পাখা, চাল, মশলা, মাছ, পেট্রোলিয়াম পণ্য, পোশাক ও আসবাব। এছাড়া পাকিস্তানি শিশুখাদ্য, জুস, কাটলেরি ও অস্ত্রোপচারের সরঞ্জামেরও বড় বাজার রয়েছে বাংলাদেশে।

চলতি বছরের শুরুতে ঢাকায় বাংলাদেশের বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রীর সঙ্গে পাকিস্তানি কূটনীতিকদের এক মতবিনিময় সভা অনুষ্ঠিত হয়। সভায় উভয় পক্ষই দুই দেশের মধ্যে বাণিজ্য সম্পর্ক বৃদ্ধির বিষয়ে জোর দেয়।

সভায় বাংলাদেশের পক্ষ থেকে বলা হয়, পাকিস্তানের সঙ্গে বাংলাদেশের ব্যবসা-বাণিজ্য চলমান। বাংলাদেশ থেকে চা, ফার্মাসিউটিক্যাল পণ্য, তৈরি পোশাক, সিরামিক পণ্য, পাদুকা, চামড়াজাত ও পাটজাত পণ্য পাকিস্তানে রফতানি হয়। এ রফতানি আরো বাড়ানোর সুযোগ রয়েছে। পাকিস্তানের সঙ্গে বাণিজ্যে কিছু ক্ষেত্রে সমস্যা রয়েছে উল্লেখ করে হাইড্রোজেন পার-অক্সাইড রফতানিতে অ্যান্টিডাম্পিং কর আরোপের বিষয়টি তুলে ধরা হয়। উভয় দেশের মধ্যে গঠিত জয়েন্ট ইকোনমিক কমিশনের (জেইসি) সভায় সমস্যাগুলো চিহ্নিত করে সমাধান করা সম্ভব বলে জানায় বাংলাদেশ।

অন্যদিকে পাকিস্তানের পক্ষ থেকে জানানো হয়, দেশটির সরকার বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে বাণিজ্যিক সম্পর্ক উন্নয়ন করে সামনে এগিয়ে যেতে চায়। উভয় দেশের মধ্যে বাণিজ্যিক ও অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বৃদ্ধির প্রচুর সুযোগ রয়েছে। সুসম্পর্ক বজায় রেখে ব্যবসায়িক ও অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বৃদ্ধি করতে আগ্রহী পাকিস্তান। পাকিস্তানিদের ব্যক্তিগত ও ব্যবসায়িক কাজে বাংলাদেশ সফরের ভিসা সহজীকরণ এবং পণ্য পরিবহনে ঢাকা-করাচি সরাসরি যোগাযোগ চালুর তাগিদও জানানো হয় পাকিস্তানের পক্ষ থেকে। এছাড়া পাকিস্তানে বাংলাদেশী পণ্যের একক বাণিজ্যমেলা করার আহ্বান জানিয়ে জেইসির নবম সভার বিষয়ে গুরুত্বারোপ করা হয়।

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Bangladesh for early conclusion of inclusive PTA with Indonesia

Published:  November 16, 2021 22:00:13

Bangladesh has stressed the importance of an early conclusion of bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Indonesia by making it inclusive and mutually beneficial.

Bangladesh observed that signing of the PTA, now under negotiation, could be an effective tool for further strengthening the trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen discussed issues when visiting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met him on Tuesday, reports UNB.

The Indonesian Minister is visiting Bangladesh to attend the 21st IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting in Dhaka.

Momen thanked his Indonesian counterpart for their supportive role in the UNGA, OIC, Human Rights Council on the issue and urged them to play a more proactive role within the ASEAN to ensure an early repatriation of the Rohingyas to their motherland.

He highlighted the plights of 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens who are being temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh on humanitarian ground.

Momen also focused on the huge socio-economic pressure caused by the Rohingyas saying the problem is exerting on Bangladesh.

While exchanging views on the Covid-19 pandemic, he pointed out the very low level of positivity rate currently prevailing in Bangladesh and informed her of the government drive for vaccinating people en masse.

The Indonesian foreign minister congratulated Bangladesh on successfully organizing the 21st Council of Ministers Meeting in Dhaka.

While discussing the importance of IORA, Foreign Minister Momen reiterated that Bangladesh believes in a free, open, peaceful and inclusive indo-pacific for the common global benefit.

The two foreign ministers expressed satisfaction over the flourishing bilateral relations in areas of mutual interest over the last five decades.

Terming Indonesia as one of our trusted friends, Momen pointed out the excellent understanding and goodwill prevailing among the highest political level of the two countries.

Referring to the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries that falls next year, both the ministers agreed to celebrate the special occasion in a befitting manner.

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/bangladesh-singapore-willing-to-sign-fta-1637118602

Bangladesh, Singapore willing to sign FTA

 DOULOT AKTER MALA | Published:  November 17, 2021 09:10:02 | Updated:  November 18, 2021 12:58:04

Bangladesh and Singapore may soon start negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement that promises to open a vast vista of trading turf encompassing entire Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific regions.

Officials said Singapore, the third largest investor in Bangladesh, has shown its interest in signing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh considering it a potential new hub of regional supply chain.

The consulate of Singapore High Commission in Dhaka, on November 9, met with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) high-ups with a pledge to go for free-trade deal.

Ministry officials said they had requested a Singaporean delegation from a working group to explore the ways of striking FTA with Bangladesh.

Earlier, the MoC had asked Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) to conduct a feasibility study on the proposed trade treaty with the ASEAN member country.

A senior official of MoC said the bilateral trade agreement would need joint feasibility study on several issues.

"The matter would be done through correspondence in the diplomatic channel between the countries," he added.

Earlier in October, the ministry formed a joint working group comprising members from BTTC, the ministry of industries, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and other relevant entities to work out a framework of the FTA.

A senior MoC official said Bangladesh needs to incorporate labour and export of service in the bilateral pact with the prosperous city state.

In 2020, Bangladesh received US$624 million (S$838.53 million) in remittances from workers in Singapore-the figure is threefold higher than the value of its exports to that country.

Mohammad Masudur Rahman, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asia Studies (ISAS), an autonomous research institute at the National University of Singapore, says Bangladesh would be able to access the market of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN if it joins hands with Singapore.

Singapore has been a model state for implementing trade-facilitation agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Earlier, Singapore had signed FTA with two South Asian countries--India and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh has yet to sign any deal on free trade with any country while Singapore has FTAs with 26 countries.

"As Singapore is an experienced FTA partner, Bangladesh will find in it a good supporting mentor for its future FTA negotiations roadmap," Mr Rahman says about the merit of such trading arrangement.

Singapore is at the heart of the global supply chain and a core member of many bilateral and regional FTAs, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations FTA, the RCEP and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

After Bangladesh's graduation from LDC status in 2026, an FTA with Singapore will ensure sustainable market access in the East Asian region, he noted.

From Singapore, Bangladesh imports capital machinery and intermediate goods and exports mostly garment products.

Both Bangladesh and Singapore have excellent scope to increase their primary exports to each other. Bangladesh only imported about US$1.4 billion (S$1.88 billion) worth of capital and intermediate goods from Singapore. The country's garment-product exports to Singapore were worth less than US$200 million (S$268.76 million) in 2020.

Earlier, the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore had held meeting with the Bangladesh foreign minister discussing potential of FTA.

The NUS is working on it and sat with MTI trade experts in Bangladesh and in Singapore last week.

Mr Rahman said Bangladesh has graduated its position in foreign policy of Singapore to second potential trade partner in the last two years from fourth position.

Vietnam has FTA with SG and many other countries that attracted $100 billion foreign direct investment while per-capita FDI in Bangladesh is on the decline.

Initially, some nominal loss of tax revenue may bring a wide opportunity for Bangladesh to access global market after signing FTA.

"When Bangladesh enters into an FTA with Singapore and eliminates its import duties for products from Singapore, it will lead to a revenue loss of about US$245 million (S$329.23 million) for Bangladesh," Mr Rahman said on the basis of his analysis.

Student and labour issues can be covered under the FTA umbrella as New Zeeland and China have such provision in their FTA, he said, for an example.

Research Director of the Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, also chairman of RAPID, says Singapore can be a gateway to the ASEAN market, but its market is quite small with just $340 billion GDP.

"Market prospect might not be enough in Singapore. Average MFN tariffs are zero there so we need to be mindful of what we can ask from them as trade concessions," he told the FE.

On services and technological aspects, however, Singapore is a global leader.

"But in trade negotiation, we need to find out how we can translate them into opportunities as it has one of the most competitive markets," he said.

Apart from exporting semi-skilled workers, Bangladesh doesn't have much scope of gaining from reciprocity-based trade agreements, he added.

"Ideally, we should be looking for cooperation schemes with Singapore on issues such as trade facilitation, innovation, quality of training and education, and other service sectors," he said.

 

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/economy/comoros-for-stronger-ties-with-bangladesh-to-boost-trade-1637147327

Comoros for stronger ties with Bangladesh to boost trade

Published:  November 17, 2021 17:08:48 | Updated:  November 19, 2021 19:59:23

 

https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/uploads/1637147327.jpg

Comoros has shown keen interest to import ready-made garments and other products from Bangladesh as the African island nation would like to enhance trade and economic cooperation with Dhaka.

The interest was made while visiting Comoros Foreign Minister Dhoihir Dhoulkamal called on his Bangladesh counterpart Dr. AK Abdul Momen at the State Guest House Padma in Dhaka on Wednesday.

The Comoros foreign minister is visiting Dhaka for participating at 21st Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers and related meetings, reports BSS citing a press release.

During the meeting, Dhoulkamal underlined the importance of signing a trade agreement with Bangladesh.

He also proposed that the Comoran officials may be trained in the natural gas exploration field at Bangladesh institutes while he showed interest in visiting some pharmaceuticals and garment industries here.

Dr. Momen expressed thanks to his Comoros counterpart for his support for the chairship of Bangladesh at IORA.

Bangladesh foreign minister requested the Comoran side for extending support at the candidature at the IMO and Human Rights Council.

Dr. Momen mentioned that Bangladesh exports various goods to the African countries including RMG, leather, jute, and pharmaceutical products.

He also proposed that there may be direct trade of goods like spices and vanilla from Comoros to Bangladesh.

It was also agreed that there would be exchanges of visits between business delegations of the two countries.

As IORA members States, both countries expressed intention to continue cooperation under the framework of IORA.

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https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2021/11/27/algeria-wants-to-expand-trade-ties-with-bangladesh

Algeria wants to expand trade ties with Bangladesh

 Imtiaz Ahmed

 Published at 05:59 pm November 27th, 2021

Bangladesh exported goods worth $5.90 million to Algeria while Algeria exported goods worth $90.79 million to Bangladesh

As the Covid-19 situation is gradually improving in both Asia and Africa, Algeria is working hard on improving trade relations with Bangladesh in the coming days.

Rabah Larbi, ambassador of Algeria to Bangladesh, said this to Dhaka Tribune at his office in the capital recently.

“Trade relations with Bangladesh are below its potential. It needs to be increased as economies of both countries have been growing steadily over the years,” Larbi further said.

Sources at the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said that Bangladesh exported goods worth $5.90 million to Algeria while Algeria exported goods worth $90.79 million to Bangladesh.

At present, Algeria imports jute and jute products, woven and knitwear, home textiles and footwear from Bangladesh. Apart from this, it imports a huge quantity of consumer goods, cereals, dairy products, plastics, medicines every year from the world market.

The North African country also has a huge potential market for man made filaments, glass and ceramics, leather goods, and electronics.

As gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Algeria is over $4,000 and Bangladesh is a developing country, the consumer markets in both countries are expanding, the African diplomat also said.

To increase bilateral trade, Bangladesh is expecting to sign either a free trade agreement (FTA) or a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Algeria, Larbi informed.

Quoting ADB statistics, Rabah Larbi said that Bangladesh is a prospective country with an emergence of new-middle and upper-middle-class consumers.

Several hundred Bangladesh citizens work in a fertilizer factory in Algeria, while some are also engaged in some other professions.

Backdrop

The Algerian government decided to reopen its embassy in Dhaka after the Embassy of Bangladesh was reopened in Algiers in 2016 for extending diplomatic presence in the region.

Bangladesh had earlier opened its diplomatic mission in Algiers in 1973, but it was closed in 1993.

Larbi recalled the historic visit of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Algiers at the invitation of Algerian President Houari Boumedienne back in September 1973.

Business conditions in most African economies have improved significantly in the last 15 years, according to the World Bank business score for selected African economies.

The new value chains now developing are based on telecommunications platforms, agribusiness and energy.

The economies of Asia and African countries will do better during this century compared to the economies of the European Union and North American countries, Larbi told this correspondent.

Meanwhile, Turkish denim manufacturer Taypa Teksil, supplier to brands including Levi’s and Calvin Klein, invested over  $800 million in what it says will be the largest textile facility in Algeria, according to multiple news reports out of Turkey and North Africa.

“As Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade garments to the world market, the country can explore the possibility of setting up high-end green industries in Algeria to tap the European markets," he opined.

Potential

To strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties, an agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Algeria in 1973. Now, both the countries have opportunities to increase trading, the envoy said quoting Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Tipu Munshi.

The commerce minister said, "Algeria is a friend of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is keen to increase trade and economic cooperation with Algeria."

As there are opportunities to increase trade between the countries, any aspect of the 1973 agreement will accordingly be revised if it seems necessary, said Tipu Munshi.

Addressing the issue of contract farming in Algeria, he said both Dhaka and Algiers can explore the possibility of working on the issue with Dhaka.

Bangladesh is looking for ways to sign a framework with potential African countries to explore untapped contract farming opportunities and identify particular countries in Africa for initiating a pilot project.

An inter-ministerial meeting co-chaired by Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaq and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on taking lands one lease in African countries for contract farming by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs was held at the Foreign Service Academy last week.

The meeting was attended by the Executive Chairman, BIDA, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary), representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce and Foreign Affairs, representatives of the Armed Forces Division, the Prime Minister Office and Bangladesh Bank.

The meeting focused on identifying ways and means for establishing contract farming in African countries by Bangladeshi farmers and entrepreneurs.

The Foreign Minister said by leasing land in the African countries, employment opportunities may be created for a very large number of Bangladeshi workers and farmers.

The Foreign Minister also suggested that exchange of training on agriculture may be made with the African countries to make them familiar with our advancements made in the field of agriculture.

The agriculture minister said since Bangladesh has a huge population, contract farming could be a viable source of creation of employment abroad.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the agricultural sector in Algeria accounted for 12% of the country’s GDP in 2016 and employs about 20% of the Algerian population.

As a part of its effort to boost the agricultural sector, Algeria is offering incentives on taxes, including farming concessions, and free long-term leases of farmland to foreign investors and local counterparts. Owing to such favorable legislative policies, many private agricultural firms are coming forward to invest in the agricultural sector.

The government policies and programs to increase domestic production, privatization of the seed sector, and investment in agricultural infrastructure are the major drivers of the growth of the market studied.

The African country has been revolutionizing its technology sector in the field of agriculture, by adopting soil-less farming. Farmers are adopting hydroponic techniques to increase vegetable production. Hence all these factors contribute towards increased production of fruits in the country.

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https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/bangladesh-failing-leverage-massive-malaysian-market-335551

TBS Report

27 November, 2021, 09:15 pm

Last modified: 27 November, 2021, 09:32 pm

Bangladesh failing to leverage massive Malaysian market

Yearly Bangladeshi exports to the Southeast Asian country at present is below $600 million

bmcci.jpg?itok=PUAg3SQu&timestamp=163802

 

Due to lack of branding, Bangladesh is failing to leverage the massive market of Malaysia, the sixth largest importer in the world, that consumes $20 billion worth of products yearly, according to Bangladesh Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) chief.

"Although Malaysia is an import-dependent country, our export to their market is relatively low and the main reason behind this is they do not know about our products. We are lagging behind in branding Bangladeshi products," said the trade body's President Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul.

He made the remarks on Saturday during a press conference, held on the occasion of BMCCI's 20-year anniversary at the Sonargaon hotel in the capital.

Currently Bangladeshi exports to Malaysia is below $600 million.

The BMCCI chief recommended signing of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) along with the branding of local products to increase exports to the South Asian country.

"Bangladesh currently imports $1.6 billion worth of products from Malaysia, whereas, the export is rather low," Raquib said and pointed out that consumers of the products, which we are currently exporting, are mainly Bangladeshis living there.

"There are no products in big super shops of the countries. We are trying to enter their market," he added.

Raquib also mentioned that perceptions towards Bangladeshis have improved over the years.

"A few years ago, when we tried to rent office space in Malaysia, the owners were reluctant after knowing we were Bangladeshis. But the environment is slowly changing. Now it is an ideal time to start branding Bangladesh," he said.

"If we can market our products well, we will be able to capture a big market," added the BMCCI president.

The anniversary event committee Chairman Syed Almas Kabir said that the ready-made garments industry accounts for 85% of Bangladesh's exports to the Malaysian market.

"The other products are only 15% and as the apparel market is already dominated by China, we have little opportunity to make much profit from it," he said.

"We are now developing many types of ICT products and we can capture the Malaysian markets with these products. There is a huge potential here. Besides, there is demand for many products in the country including leather, pharmaceuticals, frozen food, halal meat and handicrafts," Almas Kabir said and added that if we pay attention to this, our export growth in the country will be multiplied.

The 20th anniversary of BMCCI will be celebrated on 13 December at the Radisson Blu Water Garden in the capital. Saturday's press conference was organised to brief the media about the occasion.

The purpose of the celebration is to facilitate and promote business opportunities for Southeast Asian businesses and BMCCI members, and to provide a forum for enhancing networking, consulting and collaboration between Southeast Asian businesses and promoting products and services of Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Anwar Shahid and Mahbubul Alam, co-presidents of Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) and senior officials also spoke on the occasion.

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https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/first-page/bd-against-safeguard-clause-on-clothing-1638033493

EU’s GSP plus benefit

BD against safeguard clause on clothing

Experts find provision 'unfair'

 

 MONIRA MUNNI |  November 28, 2021 00:00:00

Bangladesh has requested the European Commission (EC) to remove one particular provision from its GSP plus system to help the country's textile and RMG products address the safeguard measures that are likely to be imposed by the European Union (EU).

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) sent a letter to the EC in the middle of this month, arguing that the proposed safeguard measures would severely affect the exports of the products like knitwear, woven and home textile under HS Sections 61, 62, and 63.

If the combined share of these products (EU defines these items as "product group S-11b") from a country exceeds 6.0 per cent of the total EU imports of the same products, safeguard measures would be triggered to remove duty-free market access for these items, according to the provision of this new rule.

"Bangladesh would be most affected by this provision," Md Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary of commerce, told the FE. "We have recently requested the EC to withdraw this 6.0 per cent threshold."

Bangladesh's share in total EU imports of these items is more than 13 per cent, according to an official estimate, and these products are now enjoying duty-free access to the EU market under their EBA (everything but arms) initiative.

The EC in September last proposed the new Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) for a period from 2024 to 2034.

Officials and experts have expressed the fear that Bangladesh will lose the benefit after its graduation from the least developed country (LDC) status. The 'safeguard clauses' would be applicable then under the GSP plus regime, they added.

The average tariff rate on export of the S-11b products from Bangladesh would be an average of 12 per cent from the existing zero tariff, they said.

Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) of Bangladesh Dr Abdur Razzaque appreciated the EC's proposal to remove another provision from the GSP plus rules that a country would be eligible for GSP plus benefit if the EU's combined imports do not go beyond 7.4 per cent of its overall import under the EBA.

"It's a welcome news for Bangladesh as it will be eligible to apply for the GSP plus benefit."

"The proposed GSP rules will create a unique circumstance in which Bangladesh qualifies for the GSP plus, but more than 90 per cent of its exports to the EU will have to face an average tariff hike of 12 per cent overnight from zero per cent," he said.

"In my view, the safeguard measures on textile and clothing are contradictory to the intent of the proposed new regime," he said, however. He explained that in the preamble (paragraph 24) of the new proposal, it is stated that the product graduation should not apply to GSP plus and the EBA beneficiary countries.

But the likely exclusion under safeguards will be tantamount to product graduation, he added. "I also think that the new GSP rules can be regarded as unfair."

The trade expert said the products including textile and clothing from non-LDCs like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Philippines were still benefiting from the GSP plus.

Even relatively advanced developing countries like India and Indonesia, known for their export competitiveness and capacities, can also get Standard GSP benefits for their apparel exports, he added.

Against this backdrop, the erosion of Bangladesh's tariff preferences would clearly be contrary to the argument of a GSP regime being development-friendly, he observed.

Mr Razzaque suggested that Bangladesh should now engage with the EU so that the restrictive safeguard provisions can be removed to allow local apparel exporters to continue to benefit from duty-free market access under the GSP plus.

When asked, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Faruque Hassan said they were working with the government to address the issue.

"We have raised the issue with concerned authorities during our recent visit to some EU countries, including the UK and Belgium," he said. The BGMEA had talks with the EU diplomats here in Dhaka on the graduation and post-graduation challenges of the sector, he added.

Economists and experts at a recent roundtable on 'LDC Graduation: Challenged and Opportunities' stressed the need for product diversification, skills development, and enhancing productivity to address the post-graduation challenges.

According to official data, Bangladesh exported RMG products (knit and woven) worth US$19.43 billion to the EU in the last fiscal year (FY2020-21), which is 61.77 per cent of its total RMG exports of $31.45 billion.

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https://bonikbarta.net/home/news_description/282233/অর্থনৈতিক-পুনরুদ্ধারে-টিফা-চুক্তি-কাজে-লাগাতে-চায়-বাংলাদেশ-অস্ট্রেলিয়া

অর্থনৈতিক পুনরুদ্ধারে টিফা চুক্তি কাজে লাগাতে চায় বাংলাদেশ-অস্ট্রেলিয়া

মেসবাহুল হক

ডিসেম্বর ০৪, ২০২১

দুই দেশের মধ্যে ব্যবসা-বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ বাড়াতে সম্প্রতি চুক্তি করেছে বাংলাদেশ ও অস্ট্রেলিয়া। ‘বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগসংক্রান্ত কাঠামোগত সমঝোতা’ (টিফা) শীর্ষক ওই চুক্তি কাজে লাগিয়ে করোনাপরবর্তী অর্থনৈতিক পুনরুদ্ধারে কাজ করতে চায় উভয় দেশ। এরই অংশ হিসেবে আগামী বছরের প্রথমার্ধেই অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় অনুষ্ঠিত হতে যাচ্ছে জয়েন্ট ওয়ার্কিং গ্রুপের সভা। সভায় ব্যবসা-বাণিজ্যের পাশাপাশি বিনিয়োগ বৃদ্ধির কর্মপরিকল্পনা চূড়ান্ত করা হবে। বাণিজ্য ও পররাষ্ট্র মন্ত্রণালয় সূত্রে এসব তথ্য জানা গেছে।

বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয় সূত্র জানিয়েছে, দুই দেশের মধ্যে ব্যবসা-বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ বাড়ানোর কর্মপরিকল্পনা ঠিক করতে আগামী বছরের প্রথমার্ধে অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় অনুষ্ঠিত হতে যাচ্ছে জয়েন্ট ওয়ার্কিং গ্রুপের এ সভা। সভায় বাংলাদেশের পক্ষে অংশগ্রহণের জন্য ২৫ নভেম্বর ১১ সদস্যের একটি প্রতিনিধি দল গঠন করা হয়েছে। এ প্রতিনিধি দলের দলনেতা করা হয়েছে বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের অতিরিক্ত সচিব (রফতানি) মো. হাফিজুর রহমানকে। বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের একজন যুগ্ম সচিব ও একজন উপসচিব, একই মন্ত্রণালয়ের এফটিএ অনুবিভাগ ও ডব্লিউটিও সেলের একজন করে প্রতিনিধি, পররাষ্ট্র মন্ত্রণালয়ের প্রতিনিধি, বাংলাদেশ বিনিয়োগ উন্নয়ন কর্তৃপক্ষের প্রতিনিধি, জ্বালানি ও খনিজ সম্পদ বিভাগের প্রতিনিধি, কৃষি মন্ত্রণালয়ের প্রতিনিধি, শিল্প মন্ত্রণালয়ের প্রতিনিধি এবং বাংলাদেশ ট্রেড অ্যান্ড ট্যারিফ কমিশনের প্রতিনিধিকেও এ দলে রাখা হয়েছে।

৬ অক্টোবর অস্ট্রেলিয়ার পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী সিনেটার মেরিস পেইন বাংলাদেশের পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী এ কে আব্দুল মোমেনকে একটি চিঠি দেন। চিঠিতে কভিড-১৯ পরবর্তী অর্থনৈতিক পুনরুদ্ধারের ক্ষেত্রে টিফা চুক্তিকে কাজে লাগিয়ে দুই দেশের সম্পর্ক আরো জোরালো করার আশাবাদ ব্যক্ত করেন অস্ট্রেলিয়ার পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী। টিফা শুধু দুই দেশের বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ বৃদ্ধির মধ্যেই সীমাবদ্ধ থাকবে না, বরং এর মাধ্যমে রাজনৈতিক ক্ষেত্রভিত্তিক সহযোগিতার সম্পর্ক আরো জোরালো হবে বলে আশা করছে অস্ট্রেলিয়া, যা বাংলাদেশের স্বল্পোন্নত দেশের (এলডিসি) তালিকা থেকে বের হয়ে উন্নয়নশীল দেশে উত্তরণ-পরবর্তী চ্যালেঞ্জ মোকাবেলায় আন্তর্জাতিক ক্ষেত্রে সম্পর্ক বৃদ্ধিতে গুরুত্বপর্ণ ভূমিকা রাখবে বলেও আশা করা যাচ্ছে।

চিঠিতে আরো বলা হয়, যখন দুই দেশের মধ্যে অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক সুদৃঢ় হওয়াসহ দ্বিপক্ষীয় বাণিজ্য বৃদ্ধিতে আশাবাদী হচ্ছি, ঠিক তখনই এ চুক্তিটি স্বাক্ষরিত হয়েছে। বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার শিক্ষা, এনার্জি খাতে বাণিজ্য বাড়ানোর খুব সম্ভাবনা রয়েছে। এছাড়াও অন্যান্য পণ্য এবং সেবা খাতে দ্বিপক্ষীয় বাণিজ্য বাড়ানোর সুযোগ রয়েছে। এসব নতুন নতুন খাত নিয়ে আগামীতে উভয় দেশে কাজ করতে আগ্রহী বলেও চিঠিতে উল্লেখ করা হয়।

বাণিজ্যমন্ত্রী টিপু মুনশি বলেন, বাংলাদেশ ও অস্ট্রেলিয়ার মধ্যে দ্বিপক্ষীয় বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ বাড়ানোর জন্য গত সেপ্টেম্বরে টিফা স্বাক্ষরিত হয়েছে। ওই ফ্রেমওয়ার্ক বাংলাদেশের এলডিসি থেকে উত্তরণ-পরবর্তী সময়ে শুল্কমুক্ত ও কোটামুক্ত সুবিধা ধরে রাখা, বাণিজ্য উদারীকরণ এবং বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগের প্রবাহ বৃদ্ধির অনুকূল পরিবেশ সৃষ্টিসহ সব প্রাসঙ্গিক বিষয় নিয়ে কাজ করা হবে। অস্ট্রেলিয়ার বর্তমানে বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ প্রসার এবং তা আরো গতিশীল করতে কাজ করে যাচ্ছে। এ চুক্তির আওতায় তা আরো বাড়বে বলেও আশা প্রকাশ করেন তিনি।

এদিকে সম্প্রতি অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় বাংলাদেশ হাইকমিশন ‘বাংলাদেশ অস্ট্রেলিয়া ট্রেড অ্যান্ড ইনভেস্টমেন্ট স্ট্র্যাটেজি পেপার’ তৈরি করেছে। হাইকমিশনের এ কৌশলপত্রে দেখা গেছে, দুই দেশের দ্বিপক্ষীয় বাণিজ্যের পরিমাণ দাঁড়িয়েছে প্রায় ২০০ কোটি ডলার। তার পরও প্রতিযোগী দেশগুলোর তুলনায় বাংলাদেশে অস্ট্রেলীয় বিনিয়োগের পরিমাণ সন্তোষজনক নয়। তাই অস্ট্রেলীয় উদ্যোক্তাদের বাংলাদেশে বিনিয়োগে আকৃষ্ট করতে বেশকিছু উদ্যোগ গ্রহণ করেছে সরকার। এরই অংশ হিসেবে চলতি বছরের শেষে কিংবা আগামী বছরের শুরুতেই অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় বিনিয়োগ সম্মেলন, রোড শো করতে যাচ্ছে বাংলাদেশ বিনিয়োগ উন্নয়ন কর্তৃপক্ষ (বিডা)।

অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় বাংলাদেশ হাইকমিশনের এ কৌশলপত্রে দেখা গেছে, গত ২০১৯ সালে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার ব্যবসায়ীরা ভারতে ১ হাজার ৪৭৩ কোটি ডলারের বিনিয়োগ করেছে। ফিলিপাইনে একই সময়ে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার বিনিয়োগের পরিমাণ ৭৫৫ কোটি ডলার, ইন্দোনেশিয়ায় ৭৯২ কোটি ডলার, থাইল্যান্ডে ৫৩০ কোটি ডলার আর ভিয়েতনামে ২৩০ কোটি ডলার। সেখানে ২০১৯ সালে বাংলাদেশে অস্ট্রেলিয়ান উদ্যোক্তারা বিনিয়োগ করেছে মাত্র ৩২ কোটি ৮০ লাখ ডলার। 

এ প্রসঙ্গে সম্প্রতি বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ে প্রেরিত এক চিঠিতে বিডা জানায়, অস্ট্রেলিয়ার সঙ্গে বাংলাদেশের বাণিজ্যিক সম্পর্ক সুদৃঢ়। বিশেষ করে ২০০৩ সাল থেকে বাংলাদেশ এলডিসিভুক্ত দেশ হিসেবে দেশটির বাজারে শুল্কমুক্ত ও কোটামুক্ত রফতানি সুবিধা ভোগ করছে। সাম্প্রতিক সময়ে দুই দেশের মধ্যে দ্বিপক্ষীয় বাণিজ্যও প্রায় ২০০ কোটি ডলারে উন্নীত হয়েছে। তার পরও এশিয়ার অন্যান্য প্রতিযোগী দেশের তুলনায় বাংলাদেশে অস্ট্রেলিয়ান বিনিয়োগের পরিমাণ খুবই কম।

বাংলাদেশ নিম্ন আয় থেকে নিম্ন মধ্যম আয়ের দেশে উত্তরণের যোগ্যতা অর্জন করেছে। আগামী ২০২৬ সালে বাংলাদেশ আনুষ্ঠানিকভাবে নিম্ন মধ্যম আয়ের দেশ হিসেবে স্বীকৃতি লাভ করবে। বাংলাদেশ ২০৩১ সালের মধ্যে মধ্যম আয়ের দেশ এবং ২০৪১ সালের মধ্যে উন্নত অর্থনীতির দেশে উন্নীত হওয়ার পরিকল্পনা গ্রহণ করেছে। এ পরিকল্পনা বাস্তবায়নে দেশের সামগ্রিক উন্নয়ন, অভ্যন্তরীণ চাহিদা পূরণ ও রফতানিতে বিচিত্রতায় অর্থনৈতিক ক্ষমতায়নে শিল্পায়নের অপরিসীম গুরুত্ব। তাই দেশী-বিদেশী বিনিয়োগে আকর্ষণের মাধ্যমে শিল্পায়নের প্রসারে বিডা কাজ করছে। এরই অংশ হিসেবে বাংলাদেশে অস্ট্রেলিয়ান বিনিয়োগ আকর্ষণে বিডা চলতি বছরের ডিসেম্বরে কিংবা আগামী বছরের শুরুতে অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় বিনিয়োগ সম্মেলন, রোড শো আয়োজন করবে। এজন্য অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় বাংলাদেশ হাইকমিশনের কৌশলপত্র অনুযায়ী যেসব খাতে সে দেশের বিনিয়োগকারীরা বাংলাদেশে বিনিয়োগে আগ্রহী, সেসব পণ্যে বিশেষ করে তৈরি পোশাক, লাইন ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং পণ্য, ফার্নিচার, প্লাস্টিক পণ্য এবং খেলনাসহ বিভিন্ন খাতে বিনিয়োগ বাস্তবতা পর্যালোচনায় সংশ্লিষ্ট স্টেকহোল্ডারদের নিয়ে একাধিক সভা করা হয়েছে।

এ প্রসঙ্গে জানতে চাইলে বাংলাদেশ বিনিয়োগ উন্নয়ন কর্তৃপক্ষের (বিডা) নির্বাহী চেয়ারম্যান সিরাজুল ইসলাম বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, আগামীতে অস্ট্রেলিয়ায় যে বিনিয়োগ রোড শোর আয়োজন করা হবে, সেখানে অস্ট্রেলীয় উদ্যোক্তাদের বাংলাদেশে বৈদেশিক বিনিয়োগের সুযোগ নিয়ে অবহিত করা হবে। সাম্প্রতিককালে, বাংলাদেশ সরকার বেসরকারি বিনিয়োগে একটি সহায়ক ও প্রতিযোগিতামূলক পরিবেশ সৃষ্টির লক্ষ্যে দেশীয় ও আন্তর্জাতিক বাণিজ্য ও বিনিয়োগ নীতির ক্ষেত্রে বেশকিছু পুরনো ব্যবস্থা সংস্কার করেছে। এসব বিষয় সেখানে তুলে ধরা হবে। বর্তমানে বাংলাদেশে যে বিনিয়োগ পরিবেশ বিরাজ করছে তা অনেক দেশ এখনো জানে না। তাই আমরা এ উদ্যোগ গ্রহণ করেছি।

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https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/rmg/indonesia-slaps-safeguard-duties-bangladeshi-rmg-goods-339277

Abul Kashem & Reyad Hossain

05 December, 2021, 10:35 pm

Last modified: 05 December, 2021, 10:44 pm

Indonesia slaps safeguard duties on Bangladeshi RMG goods

The duties ranging from $1.33 to $4.34 are expected not to be a worry for Bangladesh, which exports little to the Southeast Asian country

 

Indonesia has imposed safeguard duties ranging from $1.33 to $4.34 on imports of garments and accessories from all countries, including Bangladesh.

The duties, which entered into force on 12 November, 2021, will continue for three years till November, 2024, a notification dated 17 November from the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

The Business Standard received a copy of the notification. 

It says that the safeguard duties will apply to imports of garments and accessories, except eight items of headwear and neckwear. 

As per the regulation, the safeguard duties will range from Rp19,260 to Rp63,000 per item for the first year and will decline gradually.

Md Hafijur Rahman, director general of WTO Cell under the commerce ministry, confirmed the matter. 

China, Singapore and Vietnam currently enjoy duty-free access to Indonesia, whereas imported apparel from Bangladesh is already subject to duty of up to 25%.

Bangladesh bought over $1.94 billion worth of goods from the Southeast Asian country and exported $57 million in the fiscal year 2018-19. 

Of the garment items, Bangladesh imported $187 million worth of textile articles, including $133m of fibres and apparel worth $30m. 

Safeguard duties are state levies that can be imposed on imported goods in case of an absolute or relative surge in the import of goods detrimental to similar domestic products or which could cause heavy losses to the domestic industry. 

Bangladesh, however, is not worried about the duties. 

"Indonesia is not a big market for us," Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) co-president Shahidullah Azim told The Business Standard. "We export very little there. They are also our competitors in the export of readymade garments. As a result, their new tariffs will not have a significant impact on our exports."

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association Executive President Mohammad Hatem echoed Shahidullah, saying that Indonesia is not a potential market for Bangladesh so the safeguard measures will not have any major effect on exports. 

The introduction of the safeguard measures follows an investigation into Bangladesh's apparel exports to Indonesia for the period 2017-2019 conducted by the Indonesian Safeguards Committee (KPPI). It recommended the imposition of the tariffs, arguing that Indonesia's local industry was unable to compete with the imported goods. 

The Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) and the BGMEA shared their arguments and observations on the matter last year. 

A hearing on the matter took place in November 2020, more than one-and-a-half months after the KPPI initiated an investigation into the viability of a safeguard duty following a request from the Indonesia Textile Association. 

The KPPI also said developing countries, including Bangladesh with less than 3% imports share, collectively account for not more than 9% of total imports in the headwear and neckwear category, thus excluding those from the measures. 

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), an organisation based in Switzerland, also said that Indonesia had violated WTO rules to impose the safeguard measures. 

"Even though KPPI in its questionnaires requested interested parties to provide data for the periods January to June 2019 to June 2020, it then completely ignored the data and based its analysis on the period of 2017-2019," the WFSGI said. 

The findings, which were conveyed to the WTO last February and November, only cover the period 2017-2019 even though later data was available and specifically requested for, it added.    

WTO cell Director General and Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Hafizur Rahman told The Business Standard that Indonesia claimed it had taken the initiative to slap the duties in compliance with WTO policies to protect the interests of the domestic industry. 

"There is an opportunity to file a case against Indonesia's move with the WTO. However, since the amount of Bangladeshi exports to the country is not very high, it is less likely we would benefit by being the only ones to do so. Garment exports from China and Thailand are high in Indonesia. If these two countries sue, Bangladesh will consider becoming a party to it," he added. 

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https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/exports-russia-increase-removal-double-taxation-and-payment-hurdles-339616#.Ya4TL5jY5d0.facebook

TBS Report

06 December, 2021, 07:35 pm

Last modified: 06 December, 2021, 07:40 pm

Exports to Russia to increase with removal of double taxation and payment hurdles

The commerce minister met with the Russian Ambassador to Dhaka to exchange views at the Bangladesh Secretariat 

 

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said trade and commerce between Russia and Bangladesh would increase significantly if double taxation and trade transaction hurdles in banking channels were removed.

"The country has ample opportunity to expand trade with Russia. With initiative from both countries, it is possible to increase trade and commerce." He was talking to Alexander Vikentyevich Mantytskiy, Russian Ambassador to Dhaka, at the Bangladesh Secretariat here on Monday. 

Tipu Munshi said, "There is a huge demand for Bangladesh-made products in Russian markets. We want to increase export of goods to Russia, a development partner of Bangladesh. Both the countries have long-standing trade and economic relations." 

During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation, Bangladesh exported goods worth $665.31 million to Russian markets and imported goods worth $466 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The export of Bangladeshi products to Russia will increase a lot if the ongoing complexities in international trade are removed, the minister said.

He said "On the initiative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the work of setting up 100 special economic zones (SEZ) in important places of Bangladesh is going on in full swing.  The work of many SEZs is in the final stages."

Mentioning that Bangladesh is now a safe and attractive destination for investment, the minister said, "Russian investors can earn more profits if they invest in Bangladesh."

The government has taken special initiative to facilitate and expedite all investment related work and formalities. It is also providing various facilities to attract local and foreign investment. "Important companies from many countries around world have invested in Bangladesh and many companies are keen to invest here," Tipu Munshi added.

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https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2021/12/08/president-hamid-for-boosting-trade-ties-with-brazil

President Hamid for boosting trade ties with Brazil

 Tribune Report

 Published at 08:09 pm December 8th, 2021

https://media-eng.dhakatribune.com/uploads/2021/12/f8f456ef722651d7461328bf83789a261-1638972437074.jpg

Newly appointed Bangladesh Ambassador to Brazil Sadia Faizunnesa pays a courtesy call to President Md Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban in the capital on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 PID

The bilateral trade volume is now less than $2 billion

President M Abdul Hamid on Tuesday called for strengthening bilateral ties with Brazil as the newly appointed Bangladesh Ambassador to Brazil Sadia Faizunnesa paid a courtesy call with him at Bangabhaban.

During the meeting, the president said that there was ample scope to develop bilateral relations with Brazil, as well as increase trade and investment, Md Joynal Abedin, press secretary to the president, told reporters after the meeting.

The head of the state advised the new ambassador to avail this opportunity through developing more relations with Brazil.

The bilateral trade volume is now less than $2 billion and Hamid hoped that trade between the two countries would increase in the days to come.

He assured her of providing necessary support as the ambassador sought guidance and necessary cooperation from him in doing the assignment in Brazil.

Bangladesh imports sugar, wheat, and cotton from Brazil and exports apparel products, pharmaceuticals, plastics, tableware, vegetable textile fibre, jute goods, and man made filaments

He said that Bangladesh and Brazil can make a stronger alliance considering Bangladesh a big economic power. "It has nothing to do with the size of the country, but the size of the economy and market is huge."

Brazil is South America's most influential country, a rising economic power, and it has made major strides over the past few years in its efforts to raise millions out of poverty, although the gap between the rich and the poor remains wide.

President's Office Secretary Sampad Barua, Military Secretary Major General SM Salah Uddin Islam and Secretary (attachment) Md Wahidul Islam Khan were also present at the meeting.

 

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https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/cooperation-businessmen-needed-fta-signing-malaysia-tipu-munshi-341383

TBS Report

09 December, 2021, 09:55 pm

Last modified: 09 December, 2021, 10:12 pm

Cooperation from businessmen needed for FTA signing with Malaysia: Tipu Munshi

He said that discussions on the FTA signing have gone far ahead and Bangladesh has also already graduated from LDC

photo_2.jpg?itok=jtWmPHkw&timestamp=1639

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP said the signing of the FTA with Malaysia required the sincere cooperation of traders.

Tipu Munshi made the remarks while speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on "Opportunities and Challenges of FTA for Bangladesh" on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) at Gulshan Club in Dhaka on Thursday (December 9), said a press release. 

He said that discussions on the FTA signing have gone far ahead and Bangladesh has also already graduated from LDC.

"Now to compete with the developed world and move ahead in trade and commerce, we need to be prepared to face the challenges of graduation. We have already signed the FTA with Bhutan," The commerce minister said.

"We have done a lot of work to sign FTA or PTA with several countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. The signing of the FTA or PTA will put pressure on our economy, but, in the long run, we will have to do it. There is no alternative to trade with different countries," he added. 

Tipu Munshi added there are many technical and important issues with FTA, not just economic or trade relations.

"We have to move forward in this regard while protecting the interests of the country. In this case, the businessmen of the country also have to play a responsible role," he further said. 

The event was presided over by BMCCI President Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul (Rocky).

The keynote address was delivered by CPD  Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun. Former Ambassador of Bangladesh to Malaysia Farooq Sobhan took part in the discussion as a panelist.

BMCCI Organising Committee Chairman Syed Almas Kabi and General Secretary Mahbubul Alam spoke on the occasion.

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https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/first-page/btc-tips-on-dealmaking-for-post-ldc-trade-1639244114

BTC tips on dealmaking for post-LDC trade

Deeper policy reforms can produce good FTAs, PTAs

 SYFUL ISLAM |  December 12, 2021 00:00:00

Bangladesh ought to conduct comprehensive policy reforms for striking effective trade deals on preferential market access in the post-LDC era, a government body suggests as the country is poised for status change.

The suggestion comes as Bangladesh has opted to ink deals like free-trade agreement (FTA), preferential trade agreement (PTA), and comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) to offset the impacts of potential challenges to stem from the country's graduation to an upper level of socioeconomic status.

The ministry of commerce recently asked the Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) to submit proposals on what kind of reforms or amendment on trade-related rules/regulations and policies are needed in initiating or signing FTA, PTA, and CEPA.

The tariff commission recently replied to the ministry, said a senior BTC official, saying that the periphery and clauses of FTA, PTA, and CEPA need to be identified first before preparing any specific recommendation.

Referring to a previously prepared report, the BTC said the commission reviewed 26 regional trade agreements which include five signed between developed nations, 11 between developed and developing nations, and 10 between the developing nations.

It says the peripheries of the RTAs are not limited only to commodity trade--issues like trade in services, movement of natural persons, investment, intellectual property rights, trade facilitation, labour, government procurement, e-commerce, competition policy, and environment are also included.

https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/public/uploads/01ff.jpg

The BTC pointed out that in Bangladesh non-trade neutral duties like supplementary duty and regulatory duties are levied at import stage but these were not included in the regional trade agreements so far signed by Bangladesh.

Developed and developing countries include 'other duties and charges' in the definition of tariff which Bangladesh may need to drop in case of RTAs.

The commission says in the case of signing FTAs, Bangladesh may face significant challenges in following properly the various laws and rules which govern the services sectors.

"Nowadays, FTAs become highly comprehensive."

The commission cites two approaches-positive list and negative list-in the case of services-sector FTAs.

Sectors which will be opened are included in the deals in the case of positive-list approach. On other hand, sectors that will not be opened are included in the agreements in the case of negative-list approach.

"Thus, Bangladesh needs to review the existing rules and regulations on various sectors and mode-based service imports," it recommends.

Also, the BTC suggests taking a decision whether the country will go for FTAs in negative-list approach with any country.

It further says overseas-investment facility has to be there for proper use of the benefits derived by including services sectors in the FTAs. The issue needs to be taken into consideration to utilise the benefits of movement of natural persons.

Bangladesh is presently party to 22 investment deals, but only the post-establishment commitments are included therein. However, reviewing the sample RTAs it was found that in the case of investment, the pre-establishment commitments will also be incorporated which Bangladesh is new to.

The government allows overseas investment taking into consideration various criteria. Since the pre-establishment commitments remain inlaid in the FTAs, Bangladesh may need to bring changes in this clause in the future, it says.

Bangladesh also needs to take decision whether to pursue positive-or negative-list approach in case of investment while signing FTAs, it adds.

Regarding Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the BTC says, there are some issues that need to be included in Bangladesh's intellectual property rights-related rules and regulations.

Bangladesh also needs to set its position immediately regarding trade facilitation-related deals, like Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the temporary admission of goods, UN Economic Commission for Europe, Istanbul Convention-1990, and WCO Customs Data Model.

A policy decision also needs to be made for inclusion of Bangladesh in the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce.

Bangladesh is not a member or observer of the Government Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organisation. Public procurement is not incorporated into any of the existing FTAs and PTAs Bangladesh has so far entered into. A decision is needed whether to include the public procurement in the trade-facilitation pacts or not, the commission noted.

The BTC also suggests taking decision through stakeholder consultations whether labour issues will be added or not in to the future FTAs and PTAs.

A commerce ministry official, who deals with the matters, could not be reached for comment despite several attempts.

Research Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Khondaker Golam Moazzem told the FE that Bangladesh has not opted for FTAs and PTAs only to shun trade competition.

"Rather, we want market-access facility by signing these kinds of deals," he says about the way Bangladesh should walk around in doing trade as a free player in global trade arena.

The economist thinks to avail broad-based benefits Bangladesh will have to go for FTAs, and even for comprehensive economic partnership, instead of PTAs, by including all provisions of such trade deals.

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/stakeholders-demand-finalisation-of-bangladesh-malaysia-fta-1639538394

Stakeholders demand finalisation of Bangladesh, Malaysia FTA

 FE REPORT | Published:  December 15, 2021 09:19:54 | Updated:  December 15, 2021 11:33:18

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Speakers at a programme on Monday underscored the need for finalising the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and Malaysia.

They also said the investment climate in Bangladesh had improved significantly, drawing in more foreign investments in trade and commerce.

The demand and observation were made at the programme marking the 20th anniversary of the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI), held at a city hotel.

Speaker of the national parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury attended the function as the chief guest, while Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun was present as a special guest.

Congratulating the business community, Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said the BMCCI was promoting trade, commerce, industry and investment between the two friendly countries - both in the public and private sectors.

"The organisation is fostering mutual understanding and broadening economic cooperation between the two countries," she said.

The two countries have come a long way to concentrate their bi-lateral relation since the diplomatic relation was established, after the East Asian nation recognised Bangladesh's independence in January 1972.

Highlighting the country's investment climate, Dr Chaudhury said: "There has been remarkable progress in creating a congenial investment climate in Bangladesh for attracting foreign investment."

Development of 100 economic zones and other necessary infrastructures is going on in full swing so that the foreign investors face no hassle in doing business in the country, she added.

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said the bilateral relation between the two countries had been strengthened over the years.

He also highlighted the importance of free trade agreement and diversification of exports from Bangladesh to Malaysia.

"Besides sending manpower to Malaysia, we need to diversify our exports," said the minister.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim sent a video message marking the anniversary celebration.

In the video message, she said as a trading nation Malaysia believed in the idea of open, free and fair trade - consequently, the country had become a trading hub in the continent.

Bangladesh is now the second-largest trading partner of Malaysia in the South Asia region, she added.

"I believe the business policies coupled with the proposed Malaysia-Bangladesh free trade agreement will bring about tremendous benefits and business opportunities for the nations," she said.

According to data available, the bilateral trade is favourable to Malaysia as Bangladesh exported goods and services worth around $306 million to and imported $1,573 million from Malaysia in the fiscal year 2020-2021.

BMCCI President Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul (Rocky), its directors, former presidents, and members, among others, attended the celebration.

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