The issues were discussed at the 6th plenary of EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue at the Commerce Ministry on Sunday. The European Union (EU) has expressed their desire to continue working constructively with the government of Bangladesh in creating an environment conducive to do business.
The EU Heads of Mission said improvement in customs tariffs and customs procedures will help Bangladesh create a positive investment climate which in turn would contribute to ensuring sustainable economic growth. The issues were discussed at the 6th plenary of EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue at the Commerce Ministry on Sunday.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi chaired the dialogue while it was co-chaired by Secretary Commerce Dr Md Jafar Uddin and EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink. The dialogue was attended by all eight EU Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Dhaka – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Numerous government authorities including the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and Bangladesh Bank as well as representatives from EU private sector participated at the dialogue. The EU Heads of Mission considered that there is an urgent need for the government of Bangladesh to take action in order to facilitate more EU import to Bangladesh.
Currently, various tariffs and para-tariff barriers hinder quality European products from entering into Bangladesh. The Heads of Missions suggested that whilst there is no shortage of law or policies in Bangladesh to regulate trade and investment, the main difficulty was due to the lack of their effective enforcement.
Among other issues, the ambassadors stressed on the need for full and proper implementation of bilateral double taxation avoidance agreements, removing investment cap in the services sector, and upgrading the delivery of services at Chittagong port and Dhaka airport.
They asked for having a predictable and transparent taxation and VAT regime as well as an improvement in Bangladesh’s judicial system to ensure immediate and effective enforcement of contracts on which Bangladesh ranks next to last globally, as reported by the World Bank’s Doing-Business Index 2020. The next plenary is scheduled for July 2020.
The EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue was initiated in May 2016 with the aim to jointly remove impediments that obstruct EU trade and investment in Bangladesh. The EU is Bangladesh’s number one trading partner and the second largest source of FDI to Bangladesh. Bangladeshi exports to the EU amounted to about €18 billion in 2018, while the EU exports to Bangladesh were to the tune of €3.5 billion, according to EU Embassy in Dhaka.