Bangladesh Tariff Commission has prepared two priority lists containing 200 potential exportable products for seeking duty-free and quota-free access to Gulf Cooperation Council market.
The lists have been prepared based on export capacity of Bangladesh, import demand of GCC countries—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—and future potential for export to the countries, officials said.
The commission has already sought opinion from stakeholders, mainly exporters, about the lists which will be finalised after accommodating their recommendations.
The products include frozen fish, nuts, spices, vegetables, cereal, potato, jute products, prepared foods, confectionary items, juice, water, non-alcoholic beverage, household articles and toilet articles of plastics, various types of leather bags, footwear, sports footwear, readymade garment products like overcoat, dress, jacket, blazer, suit, trousers, shirt, t-shirt, undergarment, jersey, pullover, baby garments, hat and other headgear, tableware and kitchenware, bars and rods, articles of iron or steel, self-propelled bulldozer, road roller and bicycles.
Commerce ministry officials said that the BTC was preparing Bangladesh’s request list for DFQF market access to GCC countries upon the request of the ministry.
The ministry took the move after some GCC countries, especially UAE and KSA, advised Bangladesh to send the proposal seeking DFQF benefits to the regional market through diplomatic channels.
In February during the joint economic commission of Bangladesh and UAE, Bangladesh sought the DFQF benefits to the country and other GCC member states.
The government had earlier sought DFQF access to Saudi Arabia for 204 exportable products in two categories.
But the kingdom informed Bangladesh that it could not unilaterally allow the benefit to any country as it is a member of the GCC Customs Union which sets unified customs tariff for non-GCC countries.
Tariff commission officials said that they had prepared the draft lists considering bilateral trade with all GCC countries.
The first priority list containing 158 products has been prepared matching Bangladesh’s global export with GCCs import from global market.
Trade officials considered a product for inclusion in the list if Bangladesh’s global export earnings from the product reached more than $5 million in a year, GCC countries’ import from global market was greater
then $25 million and tariff faced by Bangladesh in GCC countries was greater than or equal to 5 per cent.
On the other hand, the second list has been prepared including the names of 42 products, which did not meet the criteria set for the first priority list but was very important in terms of Bangladesh’s bilateral export to GCC countries.
The products were considered for the list if its export to GCC countries was greater than $0.5 million and the tariff was greater than or equal to 5 per cent.
Commerce ministry may send a final list merging the two lists or two separate lists to the GCC secretariat with a request of market access for Bangladesh, officials said.
They said that the gulf countries might be one of the most important export destinations for the country if the benefit was granted.