The High Court has cleared the way for Unilever products to be imported and marketed locally by Bangladeshi businesspersons or companies.
By discharging the rule that was issued following a writ petition filed by Unilever Bangladesh Ltd, the court said, "There is no bar to the import and marketing of Unilever's products from abroad by another Bangladeshi businessperson or company."
The larger HC bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam, Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, and Justice Md Shohrowardi gave the verdict on Tuesday.
Unilever Bangladesh filed the writ petition on 7 October 2010, seeking the High Court's directives to stop the importing and marketing of such goods by other companies or business persons in Bangladesh.
From now on, any bar on the import and marketing of Unilever products from abroad by any licensed company and person has been lifted, Deputy attorney general Barrister Kazi Maynul Hassan representing the state, told the media.
He said, "The High Court judgement has stopped the monopoly of Unilever Bangladesh Limited and will help create a competitive market for these products."
The writ petitioner was afraid that other institutions might market adulterated products using the opportunity to import these products, which could adversely affect public health, Barrister Maynul said.
"But in the court, we have said, the government has various responsible institutions to eliminate these fears. After testing, these products are allowed to be marketed."
After hearing the writ, the High court issued a rule to the authorities concerned asking to explain why they should not be directed not to allow the import and marketing of Unilever products from abroad by other institutions.
NBR Chairman, Commissioner of Customs, all public and private banks of the country and seven importing companies were respondents in the rule.
The writ sought not to allow anyone else to open LCs to import Vaseline, Knorr, Dove, Pepsodent toothbrush, Close up, Milk Calcium Nutrient, and other branded products and empty wrappers.
If this opportunity is given then there is a possibility of adulterated cosmetics being marketed in the name of branded products, the writ adds.