Bangladesh to keep enjoying tariff benefits in UK after Brexit transition

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 00:22, Nov 12,2020


Bangladesh will continue to enjoy quota-free and duty-free market access to the United Kingdom for all products other than arms and ammunition after the end of the Brexit transition period by December, said the British government on Wednesday.

‘The trade preference scheme will cover any eligible countries that do not have their existing trade agreements transitioned into a new agreement with the UK,’ the British government said in an announcement.

 The UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) will cover all the same countries that are currently eligible for trade preferences under the European Union’s GSP, allowing businesses to trade as they do now without disruption, it said.

Imports from 47 of the world’s least developed countries, including Bangladesh, will not face any tariffs as a part of the UK’s decision supporting their economic development through business and trade.

‘Bangladesh will continue to enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to the British market till at least 2024, as long as we are in the LDC group,’ Bangladesh high commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem told New Age over phone on Wednesday afternoon.

The GSP facilities should continue till 2030 for Bangladesh as the country’s export to the UK has been drastically cut in COVID-19 pandemic situation, she said. ‘We may require negotiating for GSP-plus facilities in trade with the UK in future,’ she added.

British international trade secretary Liz Truss said that the continuation of GSP scheme would also help British businesses to continue trading seamlessly after the country left the EU, as well as giving British consumers continued access to some of their favourite products at affordable prices.

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that the announcement demonstrated that the British government took a liberal approach to trade, recognising that many developing countries wanted to trade their way to greater prosperity.

The United Kingdom is the third largest export destination of Bangladesh and the country maintains positive trade balance with the UK.

During financial year 2017-2018, a total of $ 3,989.12 million worth of goods were exported to the UK which is 9.74 per cent of the total export, according to the web site of the Bangladesh High commission in London. 

The major exportable items include readymade garments, frozen food, IT engineering, leather and jute goods and bicycle.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email