Monday, January 21, 2019 | ePaper

Brexit must not be a threat for Bangladesh

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THE economic consequences of Brexit have hit the global economy overnight sending shocks waves across the continents. Bangladesh is also at risk of losing duty-free benefits on its exports of more than $3 billion to the UK as Britain outside the EU is not obliged to continue the GSP benefits that includes duty-free export of everything but arms. Development assistance and remittance from the UK may also come under strain, as the British economy fears major dislocation until it recovers from shocks that may however require several years together. We fear there is a risk in the long run that Bangladesh economy may take the brunt if exports face setback until we can sign new trade agreement provided with GSP facilities in that agreement. Brexit has already triggered massive economic dislocation in the UK making other markets restive and we must keep watch on new development as it unfolds. Dhaka should also open initial contacts with the British government about how it can help overcome the situation and work out new business ties from both sides. Brexit that takes Britain out of the EU has caused socio-political upheaval with devastating effect on economy and business both as importers and exporters. In the new situation several million British people would lose jobs as most European businesses would move to other European cities.  Repatriation of British employees from other European countries will also add to the joblessness. It means more joblessness may shrink the British market to require reduced imports of apparels and other goods from Bangladesh. Lower purchasing power may also reduce the number of restaurant eaters in the UK run by people of Bangladesh origin. It may then affect remittance to their families in Bangladesh. It is not clear what impact it would leave on migration of people to Britain from Bangladesh.  UK is Bangladesh's third largest export destination after the US and Germany, and the second largest in Europe. Bangladesh exports to UK grew by 21.28 percent last year and it may be fairly said that such growth if not retarded, may not however continue in the next few years forcing Bangladesh to suffer the big setback in an ever growing export destination. The market dislocation may be severe if the situation in Scotland creates trouble in normal marketing. We however don't see any immediate setback to our exports in other European markets. We believe that Bangladesh should take a preemptive diplomatic initiative that could be able to successfully protect the country's economic interest in the UK. The government must also take a review of the consequences of the Brexit in our external trade, migration and development assistance.

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