webinar on LDC Graduation

Considering the importance of CMSME sector even after the LDC graduation, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) is keen to conduct a research study on “identification of CMSMEs challenges in local industry and international trade and their likely solutions in post LDC graduation time” with the fullest cooperation of Prime Minister’s Office and in association with BIDA, SME Foundation and Ministry of Commerce, said the DCCI President Rizwan Rahman. He made this comment in a webinar on “LDC Graduation of Bangladesh: Journey towards Economic Excellence” organized by Dhaka Chamber on May 29, 2021.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus joined the webinar as the chief guest while ERD Secretary, Ministry of Finance Fatima Yasmin and Md. Jashim Uddin, President, FBCCI participated as special guests.

In his opening remarks, DCCI President Rizwan Rahman also said it is the right time to increase trade and investment as well as adopt long term strategic planning and their effective implementation to strengthen Bangladesh’s position in the international arena after the graduation from LDC. Bangladesh’s identity as a developing nation in the international arena, will uphold the competitiveness of the country which will take us to a greater height and will contribute to enhance export and FDI. As a developing nation, after 2026, RMG including other major export sectors will have to face different duty and non-duty (tariff & non-tariff) measures in the international market. Considering this reality, he requested the government to frame a roadmap in order to chalk out necessary preparations from the private sector, policy measures with a view to widen export market of traditional and non-traditional items. He also urged for framing an outline to attract FDI, increase investment-GDP ratio and tax-GDP ratio. Moreover, emphasis should be given to regional connectivity including signing PTA, FTA especially with those countries Bangladesh have trade imbalance, added Rizwan Rahman.

It is appreciable that government has a vision to increase the contribution of CMSME sector in the economy up to 32% by the year 2024, he told.

Developing negotiation skills, export diversification, skill development, institutional capacity development, effective policy adoption, necessary policy reforms and implementation, using 4IR technologies, conducting research with the help of international experts and academics and joint efforts from the public and private sector will play a pivotal role to be competitive after LDC graduation, experts suggested in the webinar.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus said that LDC graduation for Bangladesh is a milestone. We have to mainly focus on how to become competitive. Role of the government is to remove barriers, he added. Bangladesh is a land of 165 million people so we have a big market of our own, he said. The more the country will be competitive the less will be the cost of fund, he added. He also said that we have to look for exploring regional and Asian markets. He cited an example that being a developing nation; China is dominating the world trade, so there is no reason to be afraid of our graduating from LDC. The entrepreneurial capacity of Bangladeshi people is the strength to overcome all hurdles, he said.

ERD Secretary, Ministry of Finance Fatima Yasmin said that as per 8th five year plan the role of private sector is of about 81%. LDC graduation will boost our own resources and increase the confidence of our entrepreneurs. LDC graduation may have a few challenges but the government is taking necessary preparations. It is true that we may lose duty free, quota free access, special waiver and preferential treatment. But EU will give us preferences till 2029. Besides, we have to best capitalize the existing benefits in the next 5 years. Moreover, after graduation, government is planning to negotiate with WTO for giving us preferences for the next 12 years after 2026. For signing PTA and FTA, government is in discussion with 11 countries. She also stressed on product diversification, skill development, high value product, 4IR technological preparedness, new market exploration, improve competitiveness and negotiation skills.

Md. Jashim Uddin, President, FBCCI said that to become competitive after LDC graduation Bangladesh have to strengthen its backward linkage industry. The knit and woven sector need value addition to attract local and foreign investments. He also urged for faster implementation of SEZs. He also underscored the importance of engaging private sector in the implementable policy framework.

Barrister Nihad Kabir, President, MCCI thanked the government for forming a 22-member national steering committee under the Principal Secretary to overview the LDC graduation preparedness process. She said LDC graduation is an opportunity for Bangladesh. Apparently we may think of losing a few benefits, but in the long run we will be benefited a lot. Many business scopes are still coming into Bangladesh, she added. Yes, there will be challenges, but if government and private sector can work hand in hand Bangladesh can gain a lot. She also urged to improve negotiation skills. She also stressed on conducting research with the help of international experts and practitioners. She also urged for institutional capacity building and institutional governance.

Taufiqur Rahman, Board Member, Head of LDC Unit, Development Division, WTO, Geneva said that we have to be strategic to explore untapped market. He also urged for setting a long term goal of combination. It is more important to be integrated into the global economy, he said. He also stressed to increase efficiency, productivity and skills after the graduation.

Dr. Muinul Islam, UGC Professor, Professor (retd.), Department of Economics, Chittagong University said Vietnam is a success story in the world. For preparedness, the private sector of Bangladesh should play a vital role. We have to reduce corruption and attract FDI. He also urged to control non-performing loans (NPL). Few trades are coming into Bangladesh from China but a large portion goes to Vietnam, he added due to their financial reforms. He also stressed to explore the potentials of Blue economy from our vast area of Bay of Bengal.

N K A Mobin, FCS, FCA, Senior Vice President, DCCI gave vote of thanks.

Published on: 2021-05-29

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