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49 countries give duty-free access

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday (29 June 2014) said some 49 countries allowed duty-free access of Bangladeshi products to their markets.

The country will get duty-free access of all products to Chile from January 1 next, he said, replying to a written question from treasury bench member Begum Pinu Khan in parliament.

The duty-free markets are 28 EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland (except arms and military equipment), Japan (except arms, military equipment and some specific goods), Turkey (except arms, military equipment and readymade garments), Canada (except arms and military equipment, poultry and dairy products and egg) and Russia allowed duty-free access of 71 products and Belarus 71 products under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) to Bangladesh.

Tofail said South Korea has given duty-free access of 4,820 products under the Preferential Tariff for Least Developed Countries and China 4,788 products under duty-free treatment grants.

Bangladesh has got duty-free access of all products except tobacco and drugs to India under the SAFTA, while other SAARC countries Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and the Maldives have given such facilities under the SAFTA and SAPTA.

Thailand has allowed duty-free access of 299 products under BIMSTEC, and Malaysia 297 products.

The minister said discussions are underway to realise duty-free access of Bangladeshi products to different Southeast Asian countries and Latin American nations like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina and CIS countries and South Africa.

“The government’s efforts are continuing to get duty-free access of Bangladeshi products from countries having export-potential by signing Free Trade Agreement,” he said.

In response to another question from Awami League lawmaker Morshed Alam, he said Bangladesh fetched US$27bn in 2012-13 fiscal year by exporting 737 products.

The products included oven garments, knitwear, home textile, frozen food, shrimp, leather and leather goods, footwear, agri-produces, bicycle, chemical products, pharmaceutical and ceramic goods, paper and paper products, rubber carpet, cap, handicrafts, tea, dry food, wood and wood products, manmade filaments, computer services, jute and jute goods, specialised textile, cotton and cotton goods, engineering products, cement, petroleum by-products, plastic goods and printed materials.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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