Bangladesh has found economic advantages in both the EU and the US. From the EU, it has tried to expand the current zero duty gain even after graduating to a developing country, as the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the economy of the South Asian nation. Since 1973 Bangladesh has enjoyed zero duty export benefits under the generous Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme of the EU, designed 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.
Bangladesh has also been seeking trade facilities in the US, as the government has already appointed a special committee here to draw further American investment. However, Bangladesh may not get zero duty benefit on exports of garment to the US, as the Trump administration only gives zero duty benefit to some African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act on exports of garment items.
As a result, Bangladeshi exporters face a 15.62 percent duty as they send apparel to the US, the single largest export destination in the world where more than $6 billion in garment products are shipped a year.