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Bangladesh impervious to TPP, says minister
26
Oct '15
Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told the Bangladesh Economist's Forum that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would not have any impact on the country's economy, especially on export of readymade garments (RMG), according to newspaper reports.

The minister's statement came at the discussion meeting at the second conference of Bangladesh Economist's Forum (BEF)-2015, as some evolving adversities, including possible impact of a new bloc led by the US, came up for a close scrutiny.

"Bangladesh is the second-largest RMG-exporting country. The TPP will not affect the export of RMG, as the participants in TPP have very little share of Bangladesh export except the USA, which also denies duty-free access," Ahmed.

Twelve Pacific Rim countries signed the TPP agreement on October 5 in Atlanta to boost trade and business among themselves.

Economists and businessmen feared that it might affect Bangladesh trade and business as a number of Bangladesh's competitors, especially in apparel sector, are on the TPP bandwagon.

But the commerce minister ruled out the possibility of any such fallout as most of the TPP members do not have any significant stake in world RMG sector, excepting Vietnam.

At the discussion, Bangladeshi experts highlighted the urgency of strengthening country's institutional capacity, both economic and political, alongside good governance for sustainable economic growth amidst latest developments on the external front.

Although the Commerce Minister claimed that despite various limitations, Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in many sectors than its neighbours such as India and Pakistan, the speakers focused on tenuous pillars of such spontaneous advances in various sectors are based on and called for urgent steps for building and bolstering the institutions.

"You cannot ensure proper development without strengthening the government institutions and establishing good governance," said Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud while making his suggestions.

Prof Mahmud, a former caretaker government adviser, identified tax-GDP ratio and education as two major weak areas where the government should give more attention and called for making government institutions more transparent and accountable.

The annual budget has problem with revenue shortfall and optimistic ADP falling short due to implementation problem, the noted economist observed.

Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman also stressed the need for strengthening the institutional capacities of government institutions, free from undue external influences.

"Public institutions like monetary, financial and capital market regulators have suffered much from external undue influence denying them free hand in decisions on licensing, regulation and supervision of financial markets and institutions," he said.

"Management efficiency in SOEs has remained abysmal, eroding accountability and entailing enormous drain on public resources," the governor told the meet. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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