In this tough and challenging time amid COVID-19, where Bangladesh’s economy is hit hard and its economic backbone the readymade garment (RMG) sector has shrunk unimaginably. There is a new ray of hope for the exporters as Bangladesh’s main trading partner China has approved zero-duty benefit for 97% of the country’s export products.
A development that might provide a breather to exporters who are stressed to remain alive amid a drop in orders from Western buyers.
Leaders and experts have welcomed this new development. As generally Chinese tariffs (vary from 25% to 30%) are usually very high compared with those of the EU (12%) and the US (15.62%), the two main export destinations for Bangladesh.
So, Bangladesh will get an advantage with its rival apparel manufacturing country like Vietnam in the Chinese market as Bangladesh will not need to compete. And the demand for Bangladeshi goods, especially apparel, will rise further in China.
Lately, many Chinese garment factories have shown interest to move out to Bangladesh for the higher cost of production and a shortage of skilled manpower in the Chinese apparel industry and the US-China trade war.
Yielding a zero-duty advantage for Bangladeshi goods in the Chinese markets designates that both the Chinese government and private sector are shifting their attention towards Bangladesh.
“This is a generous duty privilege. So, in a sense, the Chinese offer is broader compared with those provided by other countries.” said Sharifa Khan, Additional Secretary (Free Trade Agreement) of the Commerce Ministry.
From this month local exporters can relish the benefit, Sharifa added that China has granted the privilege both bilaterally and under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA).
“We must take such measures that we can utilize this prospect as China itself is one of the main consumer markets globally,” said Abdur Razzaque, Research Director of the Policy Research Institute (PRI).
This will also help Bangladesh increase shipments of new products like pharmaceuticals and some non-traditional items. As a result, Bangladesh has got a golden opportunity to diversify both its products and markets, Razzaque added.