Bangladesh should reduce tariff rate: experts

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, May 13,2019

 
 

Trade experts on Sunday said that Bangladesh should reduce average tariff rate on import to comply with the rules of World Trade Organisation after the graduation to developing country from the least developed one.
‘The tariff escalation ratio of Bangladesh is much higher than any other country in the region and the country’s average tariff on output is 50.01 per cent while average tariff on inputs is 13.10 per cent,’ Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh chairman Zaidi Sattar said at a dissemination workshop titled ‘Bangladesh – Leveraging Growth Opportunities in the Neighbourhood’.
In a presentation, Zaidi showed that output (finished products) tariffs affected prices of the products and consumers had to pay the extra prices while input (raw materials) tariffs affected prices of intermediate and capital goods and producers paid the prices.
PRI and World Bank Group jointly organised the event at the PRI conference room in capital Dhaka.
Zaidi said that Bangladesh would have to follow an ideal tariff structure in 2024-27 to comply with the WTO criteria after graduation by lowering average tariff on output to 10 per cent and average tariff on input to 5 per cent.
He termed the country’s tariff structure ‘complex’.
He said Bangladeshi consumers had to pay 75 per cent above the international prices due to the imposition of protection tariff.
Zaidi said that protection tariff raised domestic prices and hurt consumers.
Terming country’s tariff regime unfriendly to exports, he said that it created anti-export bias of incentives, particularly for manufacturing of non-readymade garment products.
Sanjay Kathuria, lead economist (South Asia Region) of World Bank, said Bangladesh’s tax structure was so complicated that one needed specialist to compute the taxes.
He said that tax structure should be simple and transparent.

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