Bangladesh will need continued support from the developed world to face Covid and post-LDC challenges, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP has said.
Tipu Munshi made the remarks while speaking as a special guest and panelist at the inaugural joint policy note-making event titled "The Role of Trade in Developing Countries, Roads to Recovery" organised by the World Bank Group and World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Monday night (24 January).
"The ongoing Covid-19 situation and LDC graduation is a big challenge for Bangladesh's trade and commerce. It is imperative that the World Bank Group and the WTO continue to work together to address this challenge," he said.
"UN General Assembly on 24 November approved the recommendation of Bangladesh to become a developing country. After 2026, Bangladesh will have to face many challenges including trade and commerce. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh, like other countries in the world, is facing a difficult situation," the minister added.
He said that continued trade facilitation for Bangladesh under EU's Everything But Arms Scheme, trade facilitation for export of pharmaceutical products and loan assistance from the World Bank at a nominal interest rate is crucial.
Tipu Munshi said that the current per capita income of the people of Bangladesh has risen to $2,554, the size of the country's economy is now around $400 billion.
"Bangladesh is fast advancing in export trade," the commerce minister remarked.
"Trade assistance to the developed world, including the European Union, has encouraged Bangladesh. It is very important to continue this cooperation to deal with the situation," the minister said, adding that "The government is providing timely assistance to businesses to keep the country's economy afloat through incentive packages. The situation is being addressed by taking timely steps under the direction of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina."
"Bangladesh has made unimaginable progress in the last decade. From 2009 to 2021, the average economic growth of Bangladesh was 6.3%. Despite the decline in the Covid-19 situation, it is expected to increase to 7.2% in the next 2021-2022 fiscal year," Tipu Munshi said remarking that Bangladesh has huge potential for trade and employment with a population of 17 crore.
The commerce minister said Bangladesh is now in the second position and China is in the first position by exporting 6.5% of the world market readymade garments.
"40-lakh people are working in a worker-friendly and safe environment in about four and a half thousand advanced factories in the country, 60% of which are women," he noted.
The minister added that about 81% of Bangladesh's exports come from the readymade garments sector. Bangladesh's export potential has huge potential, including medical products, leather and leather products, processed agricultural products, plastics, home textiles and information technology. The Government of Bangladesh has taken special initiatives to increase exports in these sectors.
With the expansion of these sectors, the country's export earnings will increase, employment will be created and the standard of living of the people will be further improved, he hoped.
Tipu Munshi also said that Bangladesh is capable of overcoming any crisis by expanding trade and commerce in the country and in the international market, which requires the sincere cooperation of the developed world.