Overcoming barriers must to raise export to ASEAN states

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:23, Nov 23,2020


Experts have stressed the need for overcoming five challenges, including technical and non-tariff barriers, to increase Bangladesh’s export to the ASEAN countries.

They said this at an online discussion organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.

If the technical and the non-tariff barriers are addressed, within the next four years Bangladesh’s export volume can reach up to $1.2 billion from the present $60 million, they said.

Dhaka University economics professor Selim Raihan pointed out that Bangladesh stands to gain significantly through the integration with South East Asian countries.

It will allow Bangladesh to focus on exportoriented manufacturing strategy and encourage export diversification, he added.

Bangladesh has been facing five challenges in export diversification, he also said.

The challenges are: pro-RMG bias in the policies and programmes, inadequate policies and strategies hurting non RMG sectors, weak collective action on non-RMG sectors, an environment with a high cost of doing business disproportionately affecting the non-RMG sectors and low public spending on health and education leading to low productivity and skill development.

BGMEA president Rubana Huq said that by 2030 ASEAN would be the fourth largest economy in the world and to enter that market Bangladesh should negotiate signing an FTA with a Rules of Origin clause favourable to the ASEAN.

MCCI president Nihad Kabir stressed the need for carrying out an exercise on how the competing countries differ from Bangladesh in terms of rule-making and execution.

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen presided over the online discussion.

He said that in order to attain the governmentset goal of $60 billion export figure by the turn of the year, the performance on the South East Asian front has to be much better.

Foreign ministry additional secretary Mashfee Binte Shams and Bangladesh ambassadors and high commissioners in south East Asian countries and representatives of difference chambers of commerce also took part in the discussion.  

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