BANGLADESH'S export is hugely dependent on the EU and US markets. These two markets constitute about 73 per cent of our total export. Even though Bangladesh is exporting more than 737 commodities to around 200+ markets, 81 per cent of our export earnings come from ready-made garments (Woven and Knit) through exporting to EU and USA. We are not in a comfortable situation now due to our excessive dependence on these two traditional markets.
Brexit has become a matter of great concern for us. In terms of export destination, United Kingdom (UK) is one of the largest export destinations after Germany (14.50 per cent worth US$ 4.12 billion). About 11 per cent of our exports (worth US$ 3.2 billion) are shipped to UK. Following Brexit Bangladesh may face setbacks in its export trade as it needs to renegotiate with UK about getting preferential market access to enjoy duty free facilities as it used to be with EU.
The government as well as leading chambers should formulate a strategic plan and approach to the new government of UK accordingly. As it will take two more years for UK to complete the formalities about leaving EU, the policy makers and think tanks of Bangladesh will get sufficient time at their disposal to prepare rules of origins and other relevant formalities to maintain the UK market.
Our export target for FY 2015-16 is US$ 33.50 billion. If everything goes on right, Bangladesh will surely achieve the target comfortably. We are certainly aware that without retaining the existing market and exploring the new ones, the target of achieving US $ 60 billion by 2021 will turn out to be a misnomer.
Considering all the issues, we should prepare ourselves to overcome all the challenges ahead arising out of UK's exit from EU.
A.M. Alamgir Hossain