Dhaka seeks duty free access of 24 items to BangkokJasim Uddin
Dhaka has sought duty- and quota-free market access for its 24 selected products, mainly readymade garments, to Bangkok in a bid to boost export to Thailand and increase bilateral trade, commerce ministry officials said.
The commerce ministry has recently requested the country to allow such access of the products to its market, they said.
Earlier, the Bangladesh Tariff Commission prepared a list of 24 products following suggestion of Thailand.
At the third meeting of Bangladesh-Thailand Joint Trade Committee held in Bangkok in May, Bangladesh requested the country to allow duty- and quota-free access of the Bangladeshi products to Thailand.
In response of the Bangladesh request, the Thai authorities advised Bangladesh to send the prioritised products’ list so that they could consider some of priority products of Bangladesh for duty- and quota-free package that the country intends to provide for all the least developed countries in December.
‘In this context, the BTC has prepared the list after holding talks with stakeholders, particularly exporters, and considering future export potentiality, a senior commerce ministry official told New Age recently.
Among the 24 products, 13 are from woven and knitwear, three from jute and textiles, two each from electrical machinery and equipments, pharmaceuticals and rawhide, he said.
The products are women’s/girls knitted and woven trousers and shorts, blouses and shirts of cotton, men’s/boys knitted shirts, T-shirts, singlets and other knitted vests of cotton or other textile materials, knitted pullover, cardigans and similar articles of cotton or man-made fibres, women’s/girls’ trousers and shorts of synthetic fibres or other textile materials (not knitted), men’s/boys’ shirts (not knitted), sacks and bags of jute or other textile fibres or other man-made textile materials, lead-acid electric accumulators used for starting piston engines and others, hide and skins, alkaloids, medicaments.
Currently, the Bangladeshi exporters have to pay on an average 30 per cent to 45 per cent duty on export of woven and knitwear products to the country while export duties for other products are also high, ranging from 5 per cent to 45 per cent, a BTC official said.
‘If the country allows duty- and quota-free facility for the products to its markets, Bangladesh’s export to the country will increase significantly,’ he said.
Duty- and quota-free access will also facilitate the two countries to reach the target to double two-way trade by 2016 set by the prime ministers of the two countries, he said.
Trade between the two countries has been experiencing an upward trend in recent years. In 2011, bilateral trade was at over $1.6 billion which was a 38 per cent increase from 2010.
Currently trade imbalance is heavily against Bangladesh. In 2011, Bangladesh exports to Thailand rose to $42.20 million from $24.3 million in 2010 while Thailand exported $1.2 billion to Bangladesh in 2011.
Bangladesh exports yarn and fibres, finished oils, garments, fresh aquatic animals, chilled frozen products, fertiliser, garments etc to Thailand while imports polymers of ethylene, cement, woven fabrics, chemical product, synthetic filament and staple fibres, yarn and man-made filaments, machinery, parts etc.
Thailand is the fourth largest trading partners of Bangladesh within the ASEAN countries while Bangladesh is the third largest trading partners of Thailand within South Asia.
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