DCCI Webinar on Economic Tie of Bangladesh and Europe

Bangladesh is an emerging market having a congenial atmosphere for attracting European investment with a good examples of having many multinational success stories here, speakers told in a webinar titled “Economic Tie of Bangladesh and Europe: New Regulatory Regime” held on the 2nd day of Bangladesh Trade & Investment Summit 2021 jointly organized by Ministry of Commerce and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on October 27, 2021.

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman in his brief presentation said Bangladesh is one of the main trading partners of Europe, accounting for around 35% of Bangladesh's total trade in 2020. After LDC graduation, Bangladesh will face strict Rules of Origin requirement. He said, Bangladesh should sign FTAs/PTAs with the European Union (EU) and the UK, which will guarantee preferential market access for export to the European market. He invited European investors to invest in pharmaceuticals and API sector as well as in the high-tech parks and SEZs. Scope of European technology transfer will usher our farming compliance and export-oriented agro-processed food industries, he said. He also said a ‘Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement’ may be dealt between Bangladesh and Europe for preferential market access to the EU market.

Tipu Munshi, MP, Minister, Ministry of Commerce said It is true that after we graduate, we will lose the ‘Duty Free Quota Free’ market access. He also said that in the draft of the new GSP regulation, which was published last month, the European Union has proposed to remove the import-share criterion from the GSP+ eligibility. Bangladesh will be the direct beneficiary of this change. But he urges all sectors including public and private to be cautious to become compliant in all conventions before applying for GSP+ facility in the EU market.

Dr. Rubana Huq, Managing Director, Mohammadi Group and Former President, BGMEA said that we have to ensure our better position in a sustainable manner. LDC graduation will open up new opportunities for us. In terms of compliant factories Bangladesh’s position is commendable. The buyers should also look into a sustainable pricing system. But for that we have to go for diversification and value added products.

Zaved Akhtar, CEO and Managing Director, Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. said Bangladesh is an emerging market of huge population. It is been a phenomenal journey for Unilever here in Bangladesh. Per capita FMCG consumption in Bangladesh is still only $23 dollar whereas it is $44 dollar in India, $100 dollar in Philippines. He also said that the demographic dividend is high in this country.

Momin Ud Dowlah, Chairman & Managing Director. EON Group of Industries said Bangladesh’s soil is very fertile.He said Bangladesh is the 3rd largest vegetable producer, 3rd largest rice producer and 3rd largest Telapia fish producer in the country. European investors have good potential here in food processing industry, he told. Despite we have an agro-friendly policy however we still need a few policy reforms, he added. But to be competitive, Bangladesh needs agro mechanization and automation and investment in research and development. Moreover, agro product waste management is an attractive sector where European investment or technology can come. Bangladesh can also be a big market of halal food sector, he added.

Yasir Azman, CEO, Grameenphone Ltd. said that in 25 years they have been able to become a success story in this market. There is a win-win situation in this market. The youth of Bangladesh and technology and digitalization will lead Bangladesh to become the developed nation in 2041. Bangladesh gives ample opportunities to the foreign investors, he said.

Naser Ejaj Bijoy, CEO, Standard Chartered Bangladesh said Bangladesh is a congenial market in terms of financial sector. There are challenges in this sector but if all these challenges can be overcome, this market is a profitable one.

Published on: 2021-10-27

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