Bangladesh has sought trade benefits in the EU and the US. From EU, it has sought an extension to the current zero duty benefit even after its graduation to a developing country as the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the south Asian nation's economy. Bangladesh has been enjoying zero duty benefits on export since 1973 under the EU's generous Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme, meant for the least developed countries (LDCs).
Officially, Bangladesh will become a developing country in 2024 and three more years will be given as a grace period for preparation. Normally, the EU does not give trade benefits under the EBA after a country's graduation. So, after 2027, Bangladesh will have to either be granted the GSP Plus or the extension of the current EBA to enjoy the zero-duty benefit to the EU, the destination for 64 per cent of Bangladesh's annual garment shipment of $34 billion.
In the US too, Bangladesh has demanded trade facilities as the government has already assigned a special committee to attract more American investment here. However, Bangladesh might not get zero duty benefit on garment export to the US, as the Trump administration gives zero duty benefit on export of garment items only to some African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
As a result, Bangladeshi exporters face 15.62 per cent duty while sending apparels to the US, the country's single largest export destination where over $ 6 billion worth of garment items are shipped a year.