Speakers call for competitive, rationalized tariff structure for post-LDC period
After the LDC graduation Bangladesh will have to face a few challenges that we will not be able to give subsidy, impose supplementary duty or regulatory duty, and pay royalty for patent for medicines, increase value addition of the products under rules of origin. In view of this context, we will have to rationalize our existing tariff structure, told the speakers at a workshop on “Competitive tariff structure: post–LDC graduation context” organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on 26 October 2022.
President of Dhaka Chamber Rizwan Rahman said that after the LDC graduation, Bangladesh will have to pay 8% to 16% percent duty to the countries where we export. Moreover, we will not be able to impose any supplementary (SD) and regulatory duty (RD) to safeguard local industries which is going to be a challenge. At present our average tariff structure is about 13.5% which is higher than Viet Nam, Taiwan and Malaysia. We need to prepare ourselves in terms of enhancing productivity, cost minimization, industry skill development, ease of doing business and cost of doing business.
Md. Mashiul Alam, Joint Chief, Bangladesh Tariff Commission presented the keynote paper. he highlighted that Bangladesh is a resilient country. Last year our export was USD 50 billion. Even after LDC graduation, Bangladesh has the capacity to adopt the challenges. But from now we have to go for regional integration for PTA, FTA and CEPA with potential trading partners to hold the market access. It is true that our tariff line is not very competitive and is higher than many other countries, therefore we have no alternative but rationalize it. In that case sectoral tariff policy for at least five years will be helpful for our exporters and importers, he added.
Shis Haider Chowdhury, ndc, Member, Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission said that including government and private sector should work jointly to make our tariff structure competitive. He said Bangladesh is going to be graduated from LDC in 2026 that is a good news for the country but recently we are going through a tough time due to Covid-led pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, worldwide economic recession and natural disaster. Previously we were reluctant about FTA but now government is doing few studies to go for PTA and FTA. He also said that our tax to GDP ratio is only 7.9% which is not expected. After the graduation we will have to go for tariff rationalization at the same time we will have to concentrate on VAT and tax collection to balance revenue generation.
Farhana Iris, Director-3 (Joint Secretary), WTO Cell, Ministry of Commerce said that we have to increase our export in line with tariff rationalization. Still we have a big gap between export and import and balance of payment. Government is conducting study to sign FTA with Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. But, may be we will be able to continue subsidy in the agriculture sector till 2030, she added.
Md. Neyamul Islam, First Secretary (Customs Exemption and Project Facilities), National Board of Revenue (NBR) said since we will lose preferential access and duty free quota free facility, considering these challenges, we increase our production capacity and attract FDI. Moreover for a stable revenue generation we need focus on VAT and tax as well.
DCCI Senior Vice President Arman Haque chaired the workshop where around 50 member companies of DCCI took part in the workshop.
Published on: 2022-10-26