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Bangladesh food products face non-tariff barriers in Saudi Arabia

dry-1The government has identified some non-tariff barriers faced by local exporters in Saudi Arabia and is going to request the country to remove the NTBs to facilitate Bangladesh’s export, officials of the commerce ministry said.

Bangladeshi exporters face NTBs as the country most of the time apply rigid and non-transparent non-tariff measures and changes those repeatedly, they said.

‘Most of the NTBs are related to packaging, labeling, standards, certification of products particularly food and food items, and frequent changes of rules and regulations in this connection,’ a ministry official said.

Complying with the Saudi standards seems to be a troublesome task for many Bangladeshi exporters as even some well-established standards are not good enough for the country, he said.

In some cases, Saudi government does not accept description of nutritional facts of the food and food products that Bangladeshi exporters follow the guideline of the United States Food and Drug Administration, he said.

Officials said that Saudi Arabia also does not allow any logo mentioning ‘Halal’ word on the packages though no country complains against it.

Exporters have to maintain separate packaging and labeling for exports to the country that increases cost of packaging for the exporters, they said.

Bangladesh Tariff Commission has already spotted the NTBs and it will be finalised after further discussion with the stakeholders, particularly exporters, they said.

The government will negotiate with the country for removal or relaxation of the barriers that will enhance Bangladesh’s exports to Saudi Arabia.

Officials said that at the 10th joint economic commission meeting held in February 2013, Bangladesh requested to resolve the existing non-tariff barriers to expand bilateral trade between the two countries.

In response, Saudi Arabia asked Bangladesh for providing detailed information regarding product-wise NTBs, they said.
According to BTC report, Bangladeshi exporters also face problems regarding certification in export of meat to the country.

‘For export of meat and meat items to Saudi Arabia, a ‘halal’ certificate describing that the slaughtering was taken place in an officially licensed slaughter house according to Islamic procedure,’ it said.

A Bangladeshi local meat exporting firm could not run their business due to non-compliance of Saudi Arabian standard and sanitary measures, it added.

Vegetables export to the country also faces some barriers, officials said.

They said that the country follows separate regulations for different ports. For example, authorities in Dammam, a province of the country, do not allow betel leaves through this port while Jeddah allows the product packaged in basket. On the other hand, betel leaves is required to package in cartons.

Rezaul Karim, an export executive of Square Consumers and Toiletries Ltd, one of the largest exporters of Bangladesh, said that repeated changes of rules and regulations is one of the big NTBs in the Saudi market.

‘We have to change pack of products several times as the country repeatedly changes the requirements,’ he said.
The country also does not provide any lab report if it rejects any of export consignments, he added.

BTC officials said that Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products also face NTBs regarding certification requirements.
Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries secretary general Abdul Muktadir, said that in Saudi Arabia,

Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products face big problem related to social recognition and perception about Bangladesh. So the government needs to promote Bangladesh to the people of that country, he said.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association officials said that currently they have no data about NTBs the RMG exporters face in Saudi Arabia.

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Source: New Age

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