Bangladesh making product list to seek market access to UAE, KSA

It will be sent to GCC Secretariat soon

Syful Islam | Published: April 16, 2018 17:22:11 | Updated: April 19, 2018 13:39:25

Bangladesh is preparing a list of potential exportable products to seek duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access to gulf countries, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), officials said.

The Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) has already prepared a preliminary list of 137 products and requested all concerned, especially the stakeholders, to review it and add the names of any more products having export potentials.

Sources said Bangladesh has long been seeking DFQF facility to the KSA market. When sought the facility, the KSA asked Bangladesh to submit a list of products through Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In February this year, the joint economic commission of Bangladesh and the UAE met in Abu Dhabi to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues. In the meeting, Bangladesh sought DFQF facility to the UAE market. The UAE suggested Bangladesh take the issue with the GCC Secretariat.

Sources said the preliminary list prepared by the BTC mainly includes products like apparel items of both men and women, footwear and leather goods, juice of fruits or vegetables, frozen fish, bakery items like bread, pastry, cakes and biscuits, sportswear, mineral water, spices, toilet linen and kitchen linen of cotton, sweet biscuits, household articles and toilet articles of plastics, made-up articles of textile materials, nuts and other seeds and prepared foods.

A senior official at the ministry of commerce (MoC) told the FE that gulf nations can be good export destination for Bangladesh although until now, import from these countries outpaces export.

He said export to those countries can be increased manifold if DFQF facility for Bangladeshi products is ensured.

Statistics show that Bangladesh exported goods worth US$ 185.21 million and imported goods worth $ 605.4 million from KSA in the fiscal year 2016-17. On the other hand, Bangladesh exported goods worth $ 293 million and imported goods worth $ 838 million from UAE.

Bangladesh mainly exports frozen food, knitwear, woven garments, agricultural products, jute and jute goods, and chemical allied products to KSA. On the other hand, it imports mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, plastic, product of chemical, vegetable fat, base metal, prepared food stuff, cement, dates, and glassware.

Besides, Bangladesh mainly exports apparel, home textile, agro products, frozen food, leather and leather goods, footwear, raw jute, jute goods to UAE. Imports from there include live animals, animal products, vegetables products, plastic and rubber, leather, rawhide and skin, footwear, arms and ammunition, and base metal.

Another senior MoC official told the FE that while submitting the DFQF request Bangladesh will mention a significant trade gap with UAE and KSA and make appeal for granting the facility to help lessen the big imbalance.

He said both the UAE and the KSA are big economy. They have enough scope to grant Bangladesh DFQF facility to help raise export there.

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