Better negotiation skills, export diversification, key to success after LDC graduation: speakers


DHAKA, May 29, 2021 (BSS) – Speakers at a webinar here today said better negotiation skills, export diversification, improved competitiveness and institutional capacity building are keys to success after LDC graduation.

They also said effective policy adoption, necessary policy reforms and implementation, using 4IR technologies, conducting research with the help of international experts and academics and joint efforts from the public and private sector will play a pivotal role to be competitive after LDC graduation.

They were participating in a webinar on “LDC Graduation of Bangladesh: Journey towards Economic Excellence” organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus joined the webinar as the chief guest while Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yasmin and FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin attended as special guests.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus said that LDC graduation for Bangladesh is a milestone.

“We have to mainly focus on how to become competitive while the role of the government is to remove barriers,” he added.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is a land of 165 million people for which the country has a big market of its own, he said, “The more the country will be competitive the less will be the cost of fund.”

Kaikaus said that there is a need to look for exploring regional and Asian markets. “The entrepreneurial capacity of Bangladeshi people is the strength to overcome all hurdles,” he said.

ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin said that as per the 8th five-year plan, the role of the private sector is of about 81 percent.

She said LDC graduation will boost the country’s own resources and increase the confidence of its entrepreneurs.

“LDC graduation may have a few challenges, but the government is taking necessary preparations. It is true that we may lose duty free, quota free access, special waiver and preferential treatment. But EU will give us preferences till 2029,” she added.

Besides, Fatima said the country will have to best capitalize on the existing benefits in the next 5 years.

“Moreover, after graduation, the government is planning to negotiate with WTO for giving us preferences for the next 12 years after 2026. For signing PTA and FTA, the government is in discussion with 11 countries,” she informed.

Fatima also stressed on product diversification, skill development, high value product, 4IR technological preparedness, new market exploration, improved competitiveness and negotiation skills.

FBCCI president Md. Jashim Uddin said that to become competitive after LDC graduation, Bangladesh has to strengthen its backward linkage industry.

The knit and woven sector need value addition to attract local and foreign investments, he said urging for faster implementation of SEZs.

He also underscored the importance of engaging private sector in the implementable policy framework.

MCCI President Barrister Nihad Kabir thanked the government for forming a 22-member national steering committee under the Principal Secretary to overview the LDC graduation preparedness process.

She said LDC graduation is an opportunity for Bangladesh. “Apparently we may think of losing a few benefits, but in the long run we will be benefited a lot.”

Nihad said many business scopes are still coming into Bangladesh. “Yes, there will be challenges, but if government and private sector can work hand in hand Bangladesh can gain a lot.”

Taufiqur Rahman, Board Member, Head of LDC Unit, Development Division, WTO, Geneva said that the concerned authorities will need to become strategic to explore untapped market.

Dr. Muinul Islam, UGC Professor, Professor (retd.), Department of Economics, Chittagong University said Vietnam is a success story in the world.

For preparedness, he said the private sector of Bangladesh should play a vital role while there is also a need to reduce corruption and attract FDI.

DCCI President Rizwan said considering the importance of CMSME sector even after the LDC graduation, DCCI is keen to conduct a research study on “identification of CMSMEs challenges in local industry and international trade and their likely solutions in post LDC graduation time” with the fullest cooperation of Prime Minister’s Office and in association with BIDA, SME Foundation and Ministry of Commerce.

He said it is the right time to increase trade and investment as well as adopt long term strategic planning and their effective implementation to strengthen Bangladesh’s position in the international arena after the graduation from LDC.

The DCCI President said Bangladesh’s identity as a developing nation in the international arena will uphold the competitiveness of the country and will also take it to a greater height thus contributing to enhance export and FDI.

As a developing nation after 2026, he said RMG including other major export sectors will have to face different duty and non-duty (tariff & non-tariff) measures in the international market.

Considering this reality, he requested the government to frame a roadmap in order to chalk out necessary preparations from the private sector, policy measures with a view to widening export market of traditional and non-traditional items.

He also urged for framing an outline to attract FDI, increase investment-GDP ratio and tax-GDP ratio.

“Moreover, emphasis should be given to regional connectivity including signing PTA, FTA especially with those countries Bangladesh have trade imbalance,” added Rizwan.

He said it is appreciable that the government has a vision to increase the contribution of the CMSME sector in the economy up to 32 percent by the year 2024.

NKA Mobin, Senior Vice President, DCCI gave the vote of thanks.