A European Union delegation on Thursday demanded elimination of ‘price discrimination’ against the products EU countries export to Bangladesh.
They said that the EU countries were losing competitiveness in export to Bangladesh because of the existing discrimination in minimum import value set by the National Board of Revenue.
Minimum import value is much higher for products originated from the EU countries compared with that for products from Asian countries like China and Malaysia, they claimed.
Diplomats and businesses made the demand at the fourth EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue, an initiative of Bangladesh commerce ministry and EU Business Council, held at the commerce ministry auditorium in Dhaka on the day.
Bangladesh commerce minister Tofail Ahmed and EU ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink led the respective sides at the dialogue.
NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan declared that NBR would eliminate the discrimination within the current fiscal year.
NBR sets minimum import value for several hundreds of products for imposing customs duty following allegations and incidences of duty evasion by importers through misdeclaration, particularly under-invoicing, of the prices.
Tofail requested the EU delegation for continuing the existing duty-free and quota-free export facility for Bangladesh in the form of GSP Plus or any other form even after Bangladesh graduates from the least developed country status scheduled in 2024.
Though Bangladesh will get DFQF market access to the EU until 2027 as per WTO rules, hopefully the EU will provide the benefit as it gave it in the name of GSP Plus to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and some other countries, he said.
He also urged the EU businesses to make more investment in Bangladesh.
Tofail also forwarded a message of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to the delegation regarding the next national election.
‘The government will hold a participatory election,’ Tofail said quoting Sheikh Hasina.
The election in which all parties will attend will be held as per the constitution, he said, adding that the ruling party would be responsible for running the country in the election period.
EU ambassador Teerink said that improvement in ease of doing business was important for EU businesses and investors.
Urging elimination of discrimination related to minimum import value, she said that EU businesses were losing competitiveness in export to Bangladesh due to the provision.
She also requested for speedy implementation of decisions taken by the five working groups of the dialogue to facilitate trade and investment.
Currently, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and the EU is highly in favour of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh exported goods worth $21.33 billion in the region in last fiscal year against import of only $3.5 billion.
Ambassadors of different EU countries and trade officials also put an emphasis on predictability of duty structure and expedited cargo handling in Dhaka airport and Chittagong port.
The platform decided to hold the dialogue twice in year instead of one dialogue a year.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam, commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose, France ambassador to Bangladesh Marie-Annick Bourdin, Netherlands ambassador Michael Schultheiss, Spain ambassador D Alvaro de Salas Gimenez de Azcarate, Denmark ambassador Winnie Estrup Petersen and Sweden ambassador Charlotta Schlyter spoke, among others, at the meeting.
Source: New Age.