Experts at a webinar on Sunday stressed the need for taking some concerted steps like promoting export competitiveness, reducing dependency on revenue from imports, raising the tax-GDP ratio as well as expanding the tax net, and putting utmost priority to the trade policy options with EU and UK in a bid to ensure smooth Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation of Bangladesh.
They also suggested for prioritizing those FTAs only where export market access is critical, becoming selective about FTAs as "mad rush" to any FTA will not yield good, and offsetting costs to improve competitiveness for Bangladesh.
They made the observations at the 3rd webinar of the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) workshop series on COVID-19 and Bangladesh economy, reports BSS.
The webinar titled "Getting Ready for LDC Graduation" was organized by the ERF in partnership with Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) and The Asia Foundation. Planning Minister MA Mannan spoke at the webinar as the chief guest while Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Md Sirazul Islam and Commerce Secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin spoke as special guests while ERF President Sharmeen Rinvy was in the chair. Chairman RAPID and Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque made the key-note presentation while Dhaka University Professor and Executive Director of RAPID Dr M Abu Eusuf and Country Representative of the Asia Foundation Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj made the welcome remarks. ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam moderated the webinar.
As a testimony to its impressive economic performance, sustained over the past decades, Bangladesh is set to graduate from the group of least developed countries (LDCs). In 2018, Bangladesh for the first time met the LDC graduation qualification criteria.
The next United Nations triennial review will take place in February 2021 and Bangladesh is almost certain to satisfy the criteria again, leading to its official graduation to 'developing country' status - after a three-year transition period - in 2024. Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan suggested the Ministry of Commerce for boosting communication with EU and the UK for taking maximum benefits from them after the country's graduation from the LDC status. He also stressed the need for taking continuous efforts to boost trade and commerce with Canada, China and even with neighboring India.