Meeting with Commerce Minister

The newly elected Board of Directors of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) led by Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, President, DCCI called on the Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Tipu Munshi, MP at the secretariat today on 9 January 2023.

During the discussion DCCI President Md. Sameer Sattar said that after LDC graduation, Bangladesh will lose the preferential market access and will face 8%-16% export tariff as a developing country in different export markets. To overcome export loss, he urged for formulating a “transition strategy” with the participation of private sector to address the issues of post-LDC era. He also said that Bangladesh needs to sign FTAs with more potential countries and important economic blocs to offset the loss of preferential market access.

Currently, our export market is largely confined to the market of EU and USA. But new market development in the Southeast Asia and Africa region needs to be prioritized along with product diversification, he added. Moreover, we can negotiate with other countries to increase duty free quota free access to Bangladesh after LDC graduation, he said.

The DCCI President also underscored the importance of reducing our existing import tariff rate which is relatively higher than other countries in the region. This is because, after 2026, we will need a competitive and open tariff to compete in the international market.

Barrister Sameer Sattar also said that the government needs to consider sustenance of the supply chain of essential commodities during the Ramadan at an affordable price amidst the current inflationary stress. He also said, in order to keep prices of essential commodities affordable and keep inflation under control during the Ramadan period, NBR may consider giving certain tax benefits to the importers during the Ramadan period.

Also in order to increase business efficiency and ease, DCCI President suggested whether a separate commercial court can be established in order for quick disposal of commercial disputes along with necessary reforms to the Arbitration Act 2001.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP said that we are self-sufficient in food and agriculture production. Even the Prime Minister of Bangladesh has requested not to spare an inch of land without cultivation, he added. He then called upon the business community to invest more in agro-processing industries. Regarding LDC preparation, the Commerce Minister said that after the graduation we will focus on signing PTA and FTA with potential partners. But to avail international support measures even after LDC graduation, we need to enhance our negotiation skills, he added. Government is not doing any business rather we are relentlessly working on sustaining a business friendly environment, required policy reforms and infrastructure development in the country. Blue Economy is a vast area and we have a great opportunity to avail the blessings of this sector. He urged the business community to explore best out of it.

Senior Vice President of DCCI SM Golam Faruk Alamgir (Arman), Vice President Md. Junaed Ibna Ali and Members of the Board of Directors were also present during the meeting.

Published on: 2023-01-09

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