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"EBA Plus" facility in UK market likely

By Special Correspondent
15th-Feb-2017       
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The United Kingdom (UK) is considering to extend additional trade benefit to Bangladesh under the "Everything But Arms (EBA) Plus" scheme after the country's exit from the European Union.
British trade officials came up with the plan at a meeting with Bangladesh High Commission officials in London recently.
They also assured Bangladesh of continuing with all the existing trade benefits under the European Unions' EBA scheme after the Brexit, officials said on Tuesday.   
Presently, Bangladeshi goods enjoy duty-free and quota-free market access to the UK under the scheme.
"We have already launched official talks with the UK government for continuing Bangladesh's current trade benefit in the UK even after the country's official divorce from the EU," a senior commerce ministry official told The New Nation yesterday.
He said, "We are not only trying to retain all existing benefits, but also going beyond the current facilities".
The UK is Bangladesh's third-largest export destination where the country exported goods worth $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2015-16. Bangladesh earned $17 billion from exporting goods to the EU in that fiscal year.
The Commerce Ministry official said that the UK trade officials at the meeting with Bangladesh high commission members also hinted of going beyond the current trade facilities for Bangladesh. They asked for preparing a proposal in this regard seeking additional trade benefits under EBA Plus scheme.
 "We have already started preparing the proposal in consultation with the stakeholders," he said.
The official also said that the ministry last week held a meeting with trade experts, representatives of concerned trade bodies seeking their suggestions to be enclosed in the proposal.
 "The proposal will be sent to the British authorities through the Bangladesh High Commission in London soon. We hope the British government will endorse our proposal considering our historic relationship with the UK."
On June 23 last year, the people of Great Britain voted through a referendum for their country's exit from the decades old continental bloc, EU. Following the development, many countries, including Bangladesh, enjoying trade benefit in the UK under EU's EBA scheme were afraid of losing the preferential trade benefit.

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