Bangladesh exported $23 billion to 27 countries of the European Union (EU) which can be increased $18 billion more by enhancing production capacity and product diversification, as per a study.
The study was conducted by Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) with the cooperation of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Bangladesh on the titled 'Strengthening Bangladesh-EU Trade and Economic Cooperation: Issues and Policy Priorities.'
Sharifa Khan, Secretary, the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, was present in the discussion on the topic as the chief guest.
Charles Whiteley, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Bangladesh, was present as guest honor.
Dr Abdur Razzaq, Chairman RAPID preside over the function.
ERD secretary Sharifa said the EU is a very friend and development partner in all environments for Bangladesh. She urged to enhance support by providing duty-free and quota-free access of Bangladeshi products to EU markets after graduation.
"The EU has a lot of opportunity to increase import of Bangladeshi products as Bangladesh is producing diversified and quality besides RMG," she added.
The program share the findings of the study that looks into issues and policy options for a renewed and transformed trade and economic partnership with the European Union- an indispensable trade and development partner of Bangladesh.
The study report stated, over the past decades, the European Union (EU) has emerged as an indispensable trade and development partner for Bangladesh.
The EU is by far the largest export market as almost half of Bangladesh's merchandise exports are destined for the EU.
Taking advantage of the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative- designed for providing preferential duty-free and quota-free market access of goods originating from the least developed countries (LDCs)-Bangladesh's combined exports to the EU and UK expanded rapidly from US$2.5 billion in 2000-01 to $25billion in 2021-21.
In value terms, more than 80 percent of all trade preferences for Bangladesh is obtained from European markets.
Bangladesh has been the single largest beneficiary of EU trade preferential schemes, the study said.
The EU is also a major source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh.
Between 2017 and 2021 the net FDI flow from EU countries were $3.5 billion accounting for about a quarter of all such flows into Bangladesh during the same period.
The FDI stock in Bangladesh due to the EU is more than 12 percent of the total stock. Bangladesh still has enormous export potential in the EU as it is estimated that currently only 60 percent of export potential is utilized.