Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Thursday said that the government was worried to some extent over the coronavirus outbreak in China as it might disrupt the local supply of raw materials for industrial output.
The government is observing the overall situation and assessing the possible impacts of the outbreak on the country’s trade and business, he said after the inauguration of the three-day International Fire Safety and Security Expo-2020 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
‘We are somewhat worried over the coronavirus outbreak in China and are observing the overall situation. It is still early to predict the actual type of disruption that may take place,’ the minister said.
Tipu said that the ministry was due to get a report on the possible impacts of the outbreak on local trade and businesses from the business community on February 16.
It was a matter of concern that we would be unable to shift to alternative market sources for raw materials and equipment soon, he said.
‘Hopefully we will find alternative markets for raw materials but we need time and approval from buyers,’ commerce minister said.
Along with the readymade garment sector, the country’s leather sector has also been undergoing a crisis due to the outbreak as China is the biggest importer of Bangladeshi leather, he said.
Tipu said that the prices of garlic increased on the local market as Bangladesh imported 90 per cent of the total imported garlic from China.
‘The respective departments have been asked to monitor the market prices of garlic so that no one can manipulate market. If necessary, we will go for alternative market sources to import garlic,’ the minister said.
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