EU wants to establish strong sustainable economic relations with Bangladesh
28 February 2015, Nirapad News: The European Union (EU) said on Friday that they wanted to establish stronger and sustainable economic relations with Bangladesh and that’s why it has set up EU Business Council here to resolve obstacles.
“We consider we could reach new heights provided that the business environment becomes more attractive and friendly,” said Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Bangladesh.
The ambassador passed the remarks while talking to reporters after the sixth meeting of trade subgroup of the EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission at State Guest House Padma in the city. He also called for removing tariff and non-tariff barriers so that the EU businesses and investment in Bangladesh reach a new height.
“There are tariff and non-tariff barriers. In some cases import duties are quite high, and they can be a deterrent to European companies to promote their products in Bangladesh,” said Pierre Mayaudon.
On the non-tariff side, the envoy called for a more transparent and legally established regulatory framework so that trade and business relations can thrive further.
The 28-nation bloc is the largest trading partner of Bangladesh, and the trade balance is tilted in favour of Bangladesh. In 2013-2014, Bangladesh exported goods and products worth $16.40 billion and imported goods and products worth $2.38 billion. Together, the EU is also the top investor in the country.
Pierre said the EU delegation raised some issues they deemed important to sort out in order to further the economic relations between the two parties.
He said the issue of a new EU research and innovation programme styled “Horizon 2020” was also discussed. It aimed at assisting Bangladesh to become a knowledge-based economy.
The meeting ended with the signing of a horizontal aviation agreement between Bangladesh and the EU. The deal will help improvement of air connectivity between Bangladesh and the EU, further boosting the trade and business relations, added the EU envoy.
Monoj Kumar Roy, additional secretary of the commerce ministry, who led the Bangladesh team, said the host side sought support from the EU in order to get extension of the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) from the World Trade Organisation.
The TRIPS has allowed Bangladesh and other least developed countries not to offer patent protection to pharmaceuticals until January 1, 2016.
Monoj said the EU delegation raised the issue of the limited scope of foreign investment in Bangladesh’s service sector. “There is a writ in the court on the issue. We will have to resolve it quickly, as we are not receiving new foreign investment in the service sector,” he said.