The public and private sectors must work together at an equal pace to meet the challenges of Bangladesh's graduation from least developed country (LDC) status, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi at a national workshop on Sunday.
The minister was addressing the daylong workshop titled "National Workshop on the Proposed Time Bound Action Plan of the LDC Graduation Related Sub-Committee: Preferential Market Access and Trade Agreement and WTO issues" organised by the Ministry of Commerce at Parjatan Bhaban in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area of the capital, said a press release.
"Bangladesh will graduate to a middle-income country in 2026. It is good news for all of us but a challenging one too. We need to work hard and be prepared for the challenges, he said.
"After graduation, the country will lose many existing trade opportunities, and it will have to compete with the developed world," he said, adding that although the European Union offers us Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) plus trade facilities, many conditions have to be met first.
"Agreements such as preferential trade agreement (PTA) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are required to avail trade benefits. So, even if we lose some tariffs temporarily, we will benefit in the long run," Tipu said.
"In order to compete with the developed world, we have to build qualified and skilled people. Relying on foreign skilled manpower will not work. We have to do our job efficiently," the minister said.
"We have no choice but to boost our capabilities and the government as well as the private sectors have to come forward at an equal pace for that,'' the minister added.
Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the prime minister, was present and spoke at the event as a special guest.
Senior Secretary to the commerce ministry Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Member (secretary) of the Planning Commission's Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Institutions Division Sharifa Khan, and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) President Md Jasim Uddin, among others, also spoke at the event.