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Govt to set $70b export target in 7th five-year plan

The government is set to fix the export target at US$70 billion in its 7th Five-Year Plan to be implemented at the end of the 6th Five-Year Plan next year, sources say. To achieve this objective the government plans to take a set of pragmatic measures.

Diversification of export markets and items, inclusion of service sector in export business, taking necessary steps to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers for local exportables in different countries, development of human resources to strengthen export activities and fulfilment of commitments given to different international organisations like WTO are some of the steps.

According to the draft plan, the government is going to set 14.75 per cent export growth target in the financial year (FY) 2014-15, 14.29 per cent in FY 2015-16, 13.75 per cent in FY2016-17, 14.29 per cent in FY 2017-18, 15.38 per cent in FY 2018-19 and 16.67 per cent in FY 2019-20.

“We are confident enough to achieve the target as the government has taken a set of realistic measures which would positively help the country go forward,” a high official of the ministry of commerce (MoC) told the FE.

He said the government was trying to sign an agreement with the Turkish government, after which it would be possible to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers for local exportables there.

“If we can sign the agreement then export to the country would reach US$1.0 billion within a year from the existing $600 million. At the same time the government is trying to take single stage GSP facility against export of knit items to Japan which would also leave a positive impact on the local exports,” he added.

Local companies are now paying 17 per cent of safeguard duty against export of all exports to Turkey and additional $3.5 against each kilogram of readymade garment export.

At the same time the government also selected about some fifteen products as part of its effort to diversify export items, he informed.

The MoC official also said the country was working to diversify and expand export markets to comparatively slow but potential markets.

“There are huge prospects of exports of local goods to different corner of the globe. We are working to establish close relation with some South African, Russian, European, Latin American and Asian countries where local export is much less,” he added.

However, local businesses and association leaders have expressed their mixed reaction over the ambitious plan.

They said the government’s active persuasion to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers in different countries across the globe and its efforts for product diversification could help achieve the objective.

Besides, they also stressed political stability as a key factor to achieve the target.

“Local exporters have the capability to achieve more than the target if the government succeeds to remove trade barriers, signing preferential trade agreements and diversify export products,” President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB), Abdus Salam Murshedy, told the FE.

However, former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), A K Azad, emphasized political stability and infrastructural support from the government to achieve the goal.

“If political situation remains stable and the government can ensure smooth supply of gas and electricity then it is possible to achieve $70 billion export earnings within the financial year 2019-20,” he added.

“Above all, success of the plan depends on how the government handles the matter.”

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Source: Financial Express

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