POSSIBLE GSP+ FOR PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, SRI LANKA
Bangladesh’s tariff benefit in EU may erodeJasim Uddin
Tariff preferences Bangladesh is enjoying in the European markets under GSP facility may be eroded in future if Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka get GSP+ facility in the region, said a report prepared by the Bangladesh embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
The report said Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Philippines might be strong competitors of Bangladesh by getting duty-free export facility to the markets of European countries under the GSP+ scheme.
As per the revised generalised system of preferences to be effective from January next year, 35 countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Philippines become eligible for getting the GSP+ benefit.
If the countries are granted the facility, around 6,300 products of the countries will get duty-free market access to the EU countries.
‘Bangladesh will have to face a tough competition for exporting the products to the EU markets due to an elimination of graduation procedure and introduction of 2 per cent import share criteria for GSP+ beneficiary countries, the report, sent to the commerce ministry recently, stated.
The Bangladesh embassy in Brussels, which represents the country to the European Union, suggested conducting an in-depth analysis to find out the overall outcome of the revised GSP on Bangladesh’s exports in the backdrop of a possible inclusion of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Philippines in the GSP+ scheme.
The commerce ministry has already asked the Bangladesh Tariff Commission to conduct an analysis to this end, officials said.
Currently, Bangladesh exports only a limited number of items to the EU markets, though as a least developed country it gets duty-free and quota-free market access in the region for its all products except arms under the GSP scheme, they said.
The report observed that a great opportunity of doing trade in the EU had been created for Bangladesh with the exclusion of high and middle income developing countries from the GSP scheme, but the opportunity might be missed if Bangladesh could not diversify its export basket.
The existing preferences Bangladesh’s exports are getting may be eroded and competing countries may take hold of some market share from Bangladesh in the EU countries, the report said.
In October last year, the EU issued the revised GSP scheme with an effect from January 1, 2014.
Under the new scheme, 35 countries which will implement core human rights, labour rights, good governance and other sustainable development conventions will be eligible for getting GSP+ benefit.
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