Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley on Wednesday said the EU is keen to boost bilateral trade and investment ties, bearing in mind the sustained dynamism of the Bangladesh economy and the interest of European investors.
“Presently, there is a strong trade imbalance in EU-Bangladesh trade and very weak levels of FDI from the EU,” he was addressing at a seminar organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in Dhaka.
Charles Whiteley said EU is already a top investor in Bangladesh. In the last 8 years since 2015, more than 5 billion ($5,394.32) dollar FDI came to Bangladesh from the EU countries (according to Bangladesh Bank). Nevertheless, when it comes to overall EU investment capital (FDI stock), it is only 2 billion dollar, or just 10 percent of total foreign investment capital retained in Bangladesh.
“I must say that compared with EU investments in developing countries such as Vietnam ($28 billion EU FDI stock in Vietnam in 2022) it is far from being ideal.” he also informed.
He pointed out that aligning labour law with international standards will be an essential element for the European Parliament and the Commission in considering Bangladesh’s application for market access, the GSP+.
“Bangladesh has the option to accede to GSP+ which is the next most generous GSP programme after the Everything but Arms (EBA),” he also pointed out.
The EU ambassador said the implementation of the National Action Plan on the labour sector, which Bangladesh agreed with the EU, will be key deciding factor for GSP+
Trade is at the centre of EU-Bangladesh friendship. Bangladesh’s LDC graduation will mark the end of a longstanding trade relation that Bangladesh is enjoying Everything but Arms (EBA) under the trade regime, he also stated.
DCCI President Sameer Sattar said since Bangladesh will graduate into a developing country in 2026, Bangladesh’s exports will experience higher tariff and loss of existing international support measures which may affect entire export market and local industrial landscape linked with global value chain system.
Sameer added that Bangladesh needs to sustain the export market in its traditional and major destinations including the guest
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi took part the seminar as the chief guest.
Source: The Daily SUN.