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Bangladesh-EU to set up joint business council to boost trade

Bangladesh is ready to set up a ‘joint business council’ with the EU next year to boost trade with EU member countries. The business council will have representatives from 25 (out of 28) EU members and heads of different Bangladesh’ business chambers. The council plans to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers on Bangladesh products in the EU and expand Bangladesh’s sectors through European investments. The various Bangladesh business chambers to be a part of the council are: Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

As per the EU’s ambassador to Bangladesh, Pierre Mayaudon the council’s official meet will be held in Dhaka next February. The platform is expected to act as a catalyst to increase investments in Bangladesh. At the moment, Bangladesh is the largest exporter to the EU. In 2014-15, Bangladesh had exported products worth about $ 17.04 billion to the EU region. Every year, about 60 per cent of Bangladesh’s garment exports are directed to the EU. In fact, exports were expected to touch $20 billion in the previous year if the Euro had not been devalued. Being a developing country, exports from Bangladesh has enjoyed zero-duty benefit to the EU since 1971 under the EU’s scheme of ‘everything but arms’.